The second  Wanstead Beer Festival (WBF) is set to take place at Christchurch on October 12.

It is hoped it will be even bigger and better than last autumn's inaugural event.

More space will mean more beers and hopefully increased numbers. 

Last year, the WBF proved so popular that tickets sold out a week early. So don't miss out this time. Tickets have now gone on sale -

The larger event should also mean that more money can be raised for local charities. Last time, £3,000 was distributed between Tin in a Bin and the Wanstead Charity.

In terms of beers and ciders, it is hoped to bring in more different varieties from around the country, as well as having many of our excellent local breweries represented.

Cllr Paul Donovan is excited that the Wanstead Beer Festival is returning this autumnCllr Paul Donovan is excited that the Wanstead Beer Festival is returning this autumn

A big vote of thanks was due last year for the support the WBF got from the breweries and local businesses.

So on we go. But these are challenging times for the pub trade. The rises in the cost of living have hit the hospitality industry hard. This has meant the price of food and drink rising. 

In Wanstead, the George has been a steady bulwark of the pub trade. Owned by Wetherspoons, The George has provided food and drink at cheap affordable prices for many years. A place for people to meet. But now its future is under threat, with Wetherspoons looking to sell.

The strength of support for The George is reflected in a petition opposing closure that has already gathered over 3,200 signatures. 

A letter has been sent to the chairman of Wetherspoons, Sir Tim Martin stressing how important the pub is to so many in the community.  Hopefully, a positive response will be forthcoming.

If the pub does close, though, then we need to look at alternatives for a reasonably priced pint and some food. A pop-up or micro pub? 

People have to be able to get a pint somewhere for less than £7.

The keen support for the WBF, as well as the George and other pubs over the years, suggests the potential customer base is there. 

The challenge now is how to make it happen.

  • Paul Donovan is Labour councillor for Wanstead Village ward, Redbridge Council and a blogger (