A new beer brewed by people with learning disabilities and named after Widnes Victoria Cross recipient, Sergeant Thomas Mottershead, to mark the centenary of his act of bravery, has gone on tap in four of Halton’s pubs.
It comes as a statue to mark his achievement nears completion.A commemorative stone and a blue plaque have also recently been installed.
The Sgt Mottershead VC Statue Appeal approached Halton Borough Council’s Norton Brewing with the idea of producing a commemorative beer.
Only eight barrels of the ‘Our Heroes’ beer – based on an original WWI beer recipe – have been produced and areon sale at The Premier (Wetherspoons) Widnes, The Ferry Boat (Wetherspoons), Runcorn, The Prospect (Weston village) and The Royal Oak (Weston village). Watch this space for more details.
Norton Brewing set within grounds of Norton Priory, was established in 2011 with three regular ales being brewed there – Priory Gold, Priory Ale and Priory Velvet.
It is run by Halton Borough Council as part of community services. Instead of purely having a ‘bricks and mortar’ approach to day services the brewery and associated resources provide pre-employment skills training in a practical environment under the guidance of brewery staff.
Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Marie Wright, said: “This is a truly pioneering project and this will bring it to the attention of people in and outside Halton as well as honouring a real local hero.
“The people involved really enjoy coming to work and it really gives them meaning in their lives. They are overjoyed that their product it getting such wide recognition. It really is a win win situation.”
The statue of Sgt Thomas Mottershead, which will be located in Victoria Park, is currently being manufactured.
David Gray, Treasurer of the Sgt Mottershead VC Statue Appeal, said: “Sgt Mottershead was awarded the VC posthumously. He was in combat at 9,000 feet flying a Royal Aircraft Factory FE – 2d plane over the Western Front in January 1917.
“His plane was shot by German aircraft and set on fire. Enveloped in flames which his observer could not subdue, the gallant airman succeeded in regaining their own lines.
“The machine collapsed on landing and Sgt Mottershead, undoubtedly saving the life of his observer, subsequently died from his injuries.”
Sgt Mottershead was born in Vine Street, Widnes, where a blue plaque has recently been installed, and a commemorative stone was unveiled in Victoria Park earlier this year. Mottershead Road in Widnes was also named after him.
* Three people born in Halton were awarded the Victoria Cross for acts of bravery during World War I – Private Thomas (Todger) Jones VC, who has a statue and commemorative stone in Runcorn; Sgt Mottershead VC, and Acting Lieutenant Thomas Wilkinson VC for whom there will also be a statue appeal in the new year.