Chequers pub rolls out the barrel once again to bring back a village tradition

Landlord Brian Priest of the Chequers pub in Swinford gets ready for the charity barrel roll for Diabetes UK on the 8th January 2017.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
Landlord Brian Priest of the Chequers pub in Swinford gets ready for the charity barrel roll for Diabetes UK on the 8th January 2017. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

When Brian and Chris Priest first took over The Chequers pub in Swinford, south Leicestershire in 1987, they celebrated with a sponsored barrel roll from their old pub in Rugby.

Thirty years on, Brian (62) plans a similar sponsored barrel roll - but this time with a bigger barrel over a shorter distance.

Landlord Brian Priest of the Chequers pub in Swinford with Martin Dempsey and Russell Webb of Dow Bridge Brewery who have sponsored the barrel get ready for the charity barrel roll for Diabetes UK on the 8th January 2017.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Landlord Brian Priest of the Chequers pub in Swinford with Martin Dempsey and Russell Webb of Dow Bridge Brewery who have sponsored the barrel get ready for the charity barrel roll for Diabetes UK on the 8th January 2017. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

This weekend’s barrel roll is part of a festive season of charity fund raising at the pub.

The money raised will go to Diabetes UK, the largest charity focused on diabetes research in the country.

Brian’s wife Chris, who died three years ago, suffered from diabetes.

“I’ve been here 30 years this coming weekend” said Brian. “We arrived here on January 7, 1987.

Brian Priest with his wife Chris when he last did a charity barrel roll in 1987 at his old pub The Shakespeare.

Brian Priest with his wife Chris when he last did a charity barrel roll in 1987 at his old pub The Shakespeare.

“We challenged the customers to push a barrel from our old pub in Rugby via 18 other pubs to our “new” pub here in Swinford.”

This Sunday the barrel will roll again - but a bigger, specially-made 54 gallon barrel, from the local Dow Bridge Brewery in Catthorpe.

This time regulars will be sponsored to take turns at barrel rolling, from Swinford along the road to the Cherry Tree pub in 
Catthorpe.

“It’s about a mile-and-a-half each way” said Brian. “We’re starting at 11am and we hope to be finished by about 2pm.

“How it works is that you pay, say £5, to get someone else to push the barrel. They can then either push the barrel - or pay the £5!”

The barrel 
rolling should raise at least £400 for charity.

That money will be added to the proceeds from a quiz night and an ongoing raffle, to raise a total of between £1,500 and £2,000, said Brian.

Charity Diabetes UK has invested nearly £60 million on diabetes research in the last ten years.

Its Diabetes UK Support Forum has over 10,000 members. Its ‘Know Your Risk’ website check has been seen more than a million times.

Keen Leicester City fan Brian was also in the news in May last year. He and his regulars painted the outside of The Chequers in blue and white stripes to celebrate City’s Premiership win. The pub is now back to a more sober white.