Vicky Meets'¦

Lesley Foulkes, co-owner of Langham Brewery, Lodsworth


Since their first Bonkers for Conkers event ten years ago, the team at Langham Brewery have raised thousands of pounds for the Chestnut Treehouse Children’s Hospice. Gathering many fans along the way, this year’s fun day takes place on Sunday 8 October (12.30 – 6.30 PM) and looks set to be the best yet.

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“It is always lots of fun, with fantastic food, wonderful friendly people and of course, tasty award winning ales to try,” said Lesley, for whom providing a fantastic day for the community and raising money for the vital work of a local charity are great incentives.

Co-owned by Lesley, her partner James and their friend Steve, the original idea for a conker tournament at the Langham Brewery came from James, a keen conker player himself. Pairing the traditional English game (the first game of conkers is recorded as having taken place in 1848) with their independent steam-powered craft microbrewery, set in its quintessentially English location and with its long-established brewing methods, proved a perfect match.“We hark back but add a twist, a bit like vintage fashion,” explained Lesley. “Our building and brewing methods are authentic and traditional, but our ales are very contemporary. “Bonkers for Conkers takes place at the brewery, which is a beautiful barn on the Cowdray Estate, and there are two competitions: Junior Champion and Senior Champion. We play according to the World Championship rules,” she added firmly. “We also supply the conkers, goggles, gauntlets and hard hats and it costs £2.50 to play. This year we have also introduced a ‘Biggest Conker’ competition and people can pay £1 to enter and have their personal conker judged. It’s free to come along, but we do hope that people will give generously for the charity.”Telling me that Richline Farm Shop at Cocking will be cooking up a hog roast as well as a veggie option, and describing the mouth-watering selection of cakes that will also be on offer, Lesley said: “Dogs are welcome too. Our dog Alfie definitely likes to welcome friends. “And there will be mini steam engine rides, face painting, live music, corn-dolly making, cake decorating and lots of stalls to browse. We have also been given a wonderful hand carved bespoke jigsaw puzzle of a chestnut tree to auction. People are so generous and lovely.” Supporting their local community is important to the Langham team and Lesley sees Bonkers for Conkers as a commitment to their home turf. “It goes to the roots of what we do. We also have a lovely relationship with the Chestnut Treehouse Hospice.”Offering competitive fun in a beautiful location, with great food and drink and entertainment for all the family, including four-legged friends, to miss this brilliant fund-raising event would be, well… bonkers.For more information or to register to play conkers visit Players can also register in person on the day For more information about the Chestnut Treehouse Hospice and its work visit