It is with sadness and respect that we note the passing of one of CAMRA's heroes. Mr George Bateman of George Bateman & Son passed away on June 25th 2007. Mr George wasn't actually the 'George' in the 'Good, Honest Ales' company's title, but the grandson of the original Mr George who set up the Brewery in 1874. Bateman's is one of those rare, very rare, companies still being entirely run by the same family, with traditional family values, whilst many other families have sold out to the big plc's

There was a slight hiccup in the mid-1980's when Mr George's brother and sister wanted to sell their shares in the company, but, with a great deal of tribulation, Mr George managed to raise a bank loan to buy his siblings out, so retaining control within the family and continuing his own father's philosophy of care and respect for their friends - the staff at the brewery; the tenants in their pubs and the consumers of their ales.

One day at the height of the troubles in July 1986, Mr George headed south. He didn't quite make it to London where, on that day, a Sarah Ferguson was getting married to a certain Andrew Windsor. In formal morning suit, complete with top hat, he stopped at Midsummer Common in Cambridge and marked the day by opening the 1986 Cambridge Beer Festival with due ceremony.

Three weeks later, he was in Brighton for the Great British Beer Festival where Bateman's XXXB was declared CAMRA's National"Beer of the Year". I had the pleasure of increasing his delight by telling him that his Dark Mild had been awarded Beer of the Cambridge Festival, with XXXB being Champion Strong Beer.

His beers have since won many more awards for their quality and taste - a tradition which will continue with his next generation and with his own values.

Mr George leaves a thriving family business in the care of his son, Mr Stuart, and his daughter, Mrs Jaclyn (who was a member of Cambridge CAMRA Branch when she worked at Addenbrookes before joining the family firm), as Directors, and grandchildren to form the fifth generation of the dynasty which Mr George brought across to the 21st Century. We look forward to enjoying the produce of George Bateman & Grandchildren's mash tuns for many more years to come.

Gerald Bishop