The George Inn, Widley

The George Inn
The George Inn

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While many people will be celebrating The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, locals at one pub plan to do something a bit different.

Customers at The George Inn, in Portsdown Hill Road, Widley, will ignore the patriotic weekend of celebrations between June 2 and 5 – and raise money for The Rowans Hospice instead.

Starting on June 2, the pub will put on a live music event at its car park with proceeds going towards the hospice, in Purbrook.

Scores of local bands over the course of the weekend will take to the stage and perform for guests.

Confirmed acts include blues musicians Sly Hardy and five-piece folk rockers This Way Up, who hail from Shropshire.

Visitors will also be treated to a performance from a magician as well as a barbecue, hog roast and a raffle with prizes.

Landlord Peter White, who has been in charge at the pub for six and a half years, said: ‘This is the fourth year that we’ve run an event like this.

‘But it’s the first time we’ve decided to hold it in the summer.

‘It’s all about getting everyone to have some fun and raise some money for an excellent cause.’

Each Sunday a meat raffle and a quiz testing locals on their music and general knowledge is held in aid of The Rowans Hospice.

Regulars have raised a total of £20,000 for the hospice since Mr White, 50, took over the pub with his wife Alison Munden, 57.

‘We pride ourselves on supporting the hospice because I have known people over the years who have been cared for by the team there,’ Mr White said.

‘The hospice deserves all the support it gets.’

The pub, which dates back to the late 18th century, was once two cottages and was also the site of Old Widley fire station.

‘It’s amazing that this pub is steeped in history,’ Mr White said.

‘It’s a real old fashioned locals pub.’

Seven real ales are served on tap and over the years the pub has received awards from the Campaign For Real Ale (Camra) for the quality of its beer.

Sandy Hall, 52, who has been a part-time barmaid at the pub for a year, said she loves its old-fashioned feel.

‘It’s a proper traditional pub,’ she said.

‘I can’t stand these places that have large television screens and loud music.

‘I love the social aspect of the job. The locals are a great bunch.

‘It’s fantastic that the pub has done so much for the hospice.’