I heard something last night that if true is absolutely unbelievable. Unfortunately, despite several phone calls I am unable to confirm the accuracy of the rumours currently going around the Tadcaster community that Sam Smith’s boss Mr Humphrey Smith was recently caught trying to sneak across the Tadcaster bridge, which following the boxing day flooding is now seriously unsafe and closed to the public.
Personally, despite hearing it from several independent sources, I’m not entirely convinced of the voracity of reports that the millionaire, having evaded the protective fence, was caught by security guards sneaking across the semi collapsed structure under cover of darkness.
Surely, after having denied the community the opportunity to site a temporary footbridge on brewery land, no one would be so hypocritical as to do such a thing? Having said that, it is a big inconvenience having to walk across the old viaduct, it must be a three quarter of a mile walk, just to cover what was a 50yds dash before the bridge broke and Humphrey does live on the opposite side of the river to his brewery. Seriously though, no one would be daft enough to try it, a large part of the roadway is just holding itself up, hanging unsupported in mid air, and people do tell me that lumps of bridge continue to drop into the water.
It remains to be seen whether this is fact or fiction, but if it’s the latter it’s an indictment of how reviled Humphrey has become by his local community. Indeed, Perry Austin-Clarke, editor of The York Press made his views known in an open letter to Mr Smith. The national press are also getting on his case now, Robert Hardman of the Daily Mail publishing a very comprehensive article, citing the full debacle of Tadcaster bridge and the meddling of Sam Smith’s brewery head, the eponymous Humphrey.
Even independent pubs who stocked his beers are turning against him. The York Press reporting that the Stone Trough at Kirkham Priory are boycotting Sam’s products in protest at the brewery’s stance against the siting of the temporary footbridge.
On a positive note, some brewer’s seem to be doing their best to aid the victims of the flooding across the North of England. Although I wouldn’t go far out of my way to visit a boozer with a Theakstons sign outside, I have to say ‘fair play’ to the Masham, North Yorks. brewer on their latest initiative. For every pint of of Noah’s ark sold Theakstons are to donate 10p to the victims of flooding across Yorks. Lancs. Cumbria and NE Scotland, the proceeds being channelled through the Prince’s trust. The beer is described as a 4.3 per cent ABV, amber, full-bodied bitter in the classic pale ale style with a pronounced citrus taste and aroma, it will become available in selected pubs and clubs from mid January. You can read a more comprehensive report on The Wetherby News web site, which is where I saw it. Surprisingly, there’s nothing about it on Theakstons own, nor on the Prince’s trust web site.