Hundreds attend 'absolutely fantastic' Sunderland Vaux Breweries reunion night
Hundreds of people attended a reunion evening to mark two decades since the closure of Sunderland’s landmark Vaux Breweries.
Joint organiser Richie Morgan labelled the event “absolutely fantastic” with more than £900 also raised for charity.
The evening was held at the Chesters pub, in Chester Road, Sunderland, to mark 20 years since the brewery's closure on July 2, 1999, with the loss of around 700 jobs.
Richie, a Vaux memorabilia collector who even built his own themed bar in his garden, said: “It was absolutely fantastic.
“The room was so packed that people couldn’t get in and had go back to the bar or the beer garden.
“If someone had said there was 500 in and out during the night then I don’t think it would have been untrue.”
Among the guests at the Friday reunion was Vaux boss Frank Nicholson.
Mr Nicholson unsuccessfully urged the company’s board to ignore the closure advice offered by City of London financiers in 1999.
Richie, 64, of Seaburn, said: “He didn’t half work the floor tremendously.
“It might be 20 years since the brewery closed and yet he knew everyone’s names and those of their families.”
Mark Anderson, managing director, of Maxim Brewery, which rescued famous Vaux brands such as Double Maxim, was also present.
Richie said: “We’d sold much Double Maxim he had to contact the brewery to see if someone could bring down another keg.”
The pub also sold Maxim anniversary ales Dray and Horses and Gold Tankard.
Richie organised the event with fellow Vaux Brewery Collectables members Peter Heslop, of Ryhope, Peter’s wife, Angelika, and the couple’s daughter, Janine.
Peter, 54, said: “It was a great evening and there was so much love in the room. Frank Nicholson was amazing. He made time for everyone in the room and is such a pleasant person.”
A raffle conducted by Sunderland football legend Kevin Ball and an auction of Vaux memorabilia raised £921 for the Sunderland Action on Dementia Group.
This takes the total raised by the Vaux Brewery Collectables members to nearly £3,000 following a sponsored walk earlier this summer.
As for whether there will be another reunion, Richie, who has a selection of his memorabilia on show at Sunderland Museum until September, said: “We’ll let this one sink in first.”