The Westerham Brewery is pleased to announce the launch of one of the only Fairtrade beers available on draught. ‘William Wilberforce Freedom Ale’ will be launched during Fairtrade fortnight, which begins on 26th February. Initially the beer will be available in pubs, clubs and restaurants in Kent, Surrey, Sussex and South London.

William Wilberforce Freedom Ale is made with Fairtrade Demerara sugar from Fairtrade plantations in Malawi, southeast Africa. More than 20% of the dry weight ingredients are made up of the sugar, so permitting the beer to carry the FAIRTRADE mark.

Traditionally floor-malted Maris Otter pale ale malt, crystal malt and Kentish hops combine with Fairtrade Demerara sugar to produce a deep golden ale. It is characterised by its mellow bitterness and long hoppy finish.

Today, people trafficking is one of the worlds fastest growing illegal industries, devastating the lives of men, women and children who are taken by deception or coercion from their homes for exploitation. The Westerham Brewery supports Stop the Traffik and will make a donation from the sales proceeds of the beer to support their work in fighting slavery today.

Stop The Traffik is a global coalition of organizations, communities & individuals raising awareness of people trafficking & promoting practical action through a global declaration, media, events, celebrities & projects around the world through 2006 & 2007. www.stopthetraffik.org.uk

Munch it! Wear It! Taste it! Choose it!

Change Today. Choose Fairtrade, is an urgent call to people in the UK to engage with the Fairtrade Foundation’s vision of an even bigger movement for positive change on unfair trade, including making the switch to buying Fairtrade. This is the theme of Fairtrade Fortnight 2007 (26 February – 11 March), the annual promotional campaign of the Fairtrade Foundation which encourages people to buy products carrying the FAIRTRADE Mark.

William Wilberforce campaigned tirelessly between 1787 and 1807 for a legislated end to the British slave trade. He was willing to stand against public opinion and was committed to seeing justice served. The Reverend John Wesley had encouraged Wilberforce not to be ‘worn out by the oppression of men and devils…Go on, in the name of God…in exposing that execrable villainy, which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature.’

In the spring of 1787 Wilberforce had a meeting with his close friend, the Prime Minister William Pitt, at Pitt’s Holwood estate near Westerham in Kent. They would talk under the oak tree, now called The Wilberforce Oak, and Wilberforce made the crucial decision to take up the fight against slavery. He presented his first abolition bill in 1783 and his second attempt in 1787 but was twice defeated. Undaunted, he was defeated twice more in 1791 and 1805 before the historic bill was finally passed.

His work did not stop there. In 1823 a Society was formed for the total abolition of slavery. In parliament, the Slavery Abolition Act gathered support and received its final commons reading on 26 July 1833. Slavery would be abolished, but the plantation owners would be heavily compensated. ‘Thank God’, said Wilberforce, ‘that I have lived to witness a day in which England is willing to give twenty millions sterling for the Abolition of Slavery’. Three days later, on 29th July 1833, he died. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.