A SPECIAL edition ale has been created in tribute to the Durham Light Infantry Association, thousands of DLI soldiers and two veterans with a special connection to its brewer.

Kevin Carr, head brewer at Barnard Castle Brewing Co, first had the idea of honouring the “Faithful Durhams” with an India pale ale at his grandpa's 100th birthday.

Syd Elliott served with the 1st Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry in the Second World War at Tobruk, the siege of Malta and then Greece, where he was captured on Leros and spent the rest of the war in a prisoner of war camp in Germany.

Mr Elliott, of Sunderland, died in a care home shortly after his 100th birthday in 2018, but the memory of that celebration and the kindness shown by members of the DLI Association stayed with him to the end.

The Northern Echo:

Mr Carr, a former industrial chemist, said: “Durham Light Infantry Association members brought so much pleasure to my grandpa in his final year.

“During his 100th birthday celebration at Falstone Manor Care Home, Sunderland, he was quite overcome by the attention he received from both the staff and the DLI Association.

“He was particularly moved when they presented him with the statue of the DLI infantryman, which is a copy of the one in Durham Market Place.”

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To thank and promote the DLI Association, The Barnard Castle Brewing Co came up with a new honey-coloured DLIPA.

The beer also pays tribute to Mr Elliott's DLI comrade and friend William Pigg.

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Mr Elliott's wife, Elizabeth, had been married to childhood sweetheart Mr Pigg but he died about a year after the war, having contracted TB whilst serving in the Middle East.

Her first daughter, Eileen, is Mr Carr's mother and she went on to have another daughter, Moira, after romance blossomed with Mr Elliott and they married.

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Mr Carr said: “DLIPA is a tribute to William and Syd and the thousands of other young men and women who either served with the DLI or lost loved ones who did and also to the DLI Association who brought so much joy to Syd on his 100th birthday.

“The bottle label incorporates the regimental cap badge in gold. The green and red reflect to colours used on the regimental tie. We’ve also included an image of the statue in Durham Market Place.”

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Mr Carr said, like the rest of the hospitality sector, the brewery has struggled during lockdown due to pubs and its tap room being shut.

But bottle sales, a delivery service around Barnard Castle and local retail outlets have kept it going.

Visit barnardcastlebrewing.com for details.