Monday, 25 September 2017 00:00

Cheers! Norfolk opticians roll out the barrels in centenary celebration

Written by  The All Things Norfolk Team
Rate this item
(1 Vote)
Martin Green, Fundraising Manager of children’s charity Break (second right),  celebrates the success of Cat’s Eyes ale with (L to R) Dipple & Conway Opticians’ Group Manager Neil McDonald and Partners Damian Conway and James Conway.  Picture Credit Newsmakers              Martin Green, Fundraising Manager of children’s charity Break (second right), celebrates the success of Cat’s Eyes ale with (L to R) Dipple & Conway Opticians’ Group Manager Neil McDonald and Partners Damian Conway and James Conway. Picture Credit Newsmakers

It was “Cheers!” 14,500 times over when representatives of children’s charity Break dropped in at Norfolk opticians Dipple & Conway.

Norwich’s Fat Cat Brewery brewed a special commemorative beer for a unique glasses-meets-glasses initiative to celebrate the centenary of Dipple & Conway’s independent practice.

Long-time supporters of Break, Dipple & Conway promised to donate 10p for every pint sold in the initial three-month run of Cat’s Eyes ale, brewed just in time for last year’s Norwich Beer Festival. And the tipple proved so popular with Norfolk’s real ale drinkers that the family firm found themselves pulling a cheque for £1,450.

“I was expecting to be writing a cheque for around £500,” laughed Dipple & Conway director Damian Conway. “Instead we’re delighted to be giving our friends from Break around three times that. It’s astonishing – 14,500 pints is enough to fill a small swimming pool!”


Damian Conway, Director of Dipple & Conway Opticians, celebrates the success of Cat’s Eyes ale with Martin Green, Fundraising Manager of children’s charity Break. Picture Credit Newsmakers  

In fact Cat’s Eyes has proved so popular that, a year on from its launch, it is still being brewed as a session beer and sold throughout the Fat Cat group.

It has even tickled tastebuds of discerning drinkers throughout the East of England, having been sold at a guest beer by Bateman’s Brewery – whose pub chain runs from Norfolk to Yorkshire, including Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire.

“It’s been a phenomenal success,” said CAMRA enthusiast Damian, who created the distinctive flavour of the Cat’s Eyes recipe alongside his wife Justine, brother James and son Ben – the fourth generation of the Conway family to run a business started by Thomas Conway in 1916.

“It’s a 4% abv easy-drinking ale with a light, summery ‘hoppy’ flavour; an eminently quaffable beer,” enthused Damian. “Curating our own celebration ale has been a very enjoyable way to mark the centenary of our business.

“We are a family-orientated business and we love being part of the local community, supporting other local businesses, jobs and charities – as well as meeting people’s eye-care needs. We thought our own Cat’s Eyes brew would be a novel way of saying ‘thank you’ to the community for the way it has supported us for 100 years.”

A green-eyed puss sporting a pair of delightfully over-sized plum-coloured ‘catseyes’ spectacle frames that Dame Edna Everage would be proud of – inspired by Damian and Justine’s much-loved pet CoCo – was commissioned for pump clip and beer mat artwork to support the sale of Dipple & Conway’s special brew.


Damian and Justine’s much-loved pet Coco modelled for the Cat’s Eyes ale artwork 


Over the years Dipple & Conway has raised more than £15,000 for Break, which supports vulnerable children, young people and families across East Anglia. That total will be soon be swelled further when Group Manager Neil McDonald runs in the Lowestoft Half Marathon on October 1.

Dipple & Conway’s dedication for the Break cause inspired the charity’s patron, BT Vision’s Premier League front man Jake Humphrey, himself a real ale enthusiast, to lend a hand stirring the mash for the initial brew at the Fat Cat Brewery.

Martin Green, Break’s Fundraising Manager, said Dipple and Conway’s support over many years has been “overwhelming” – and he was impressed by their ingenuity.

“The centenary beer was an unusual but very effective method of raising money. It was a very clever way to support us,” he said. “The whole family are brilliant; they always go the extra mile.”

“I would also like to thank everyone who bought a pint or two of Cat’s Eyes...which, from personal experience, I can say is very nice indeed!”


Damian Conway, Director of Dipple & Conway Opticians, celebrates the success of Cat’s Eyes ale with Martin Green, Fundraising Manager of children’s charity Break. Picture Credit Newsmakers  

Last modified on Sunday, 13 January 2019 15:21

Visit the following businesses

Poolside Lodges - Self Catering Accommodation with Hot Tubs
Poolside Lodges is a family run site of 3 single storey lodges located 5 miles from the heart of Norwich city and the Norfolk Broads, meaning we have the best of both worlds on our doorstep; the stunning architecture of the city with its wealth of ...
Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden
Delightful natural woodland and water garden with a private Broad.  The Sensory Garden is the first thing you’ll see as you walk into Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden. It has been designed with our visually and mobility impaired customers ...
Simple Profit Management Ltd
Jargon free Practical help to help business owners reach their business goals. Company management is about Cash, Customers, Employees and Business Systems. Help is at hand to make everything work in unison to make Profit making more easy. Helping ...
Lisa Redford - Vocal Coach and Guitar Teacher
Warm, encouraging and supportive, I’m a professional vocal coach and guitar teacher. With years of recording, touring and performing experience, I love sharing my skills and passion for music, offering singing and guitar lessons in Norwich, Norfolk, ...
Fido's Pet Bazaar
Fidos Pet Bazaar is a double award winning Pet Shop started by Alan and Lorna Raven in 1977 and still going strong. We are a large authentic pet shop combining the best of the old with the best of the new and an alternative to boring old pet ...
Office Furniture Scene
Office Furniture Scene supplies a vast amount of office furniture to suit all budgets. Having noticed a gap in the market for a 'fuss-free' shopping experience when buying office furniture, OFS decided to branch out and source only the highest ...
benefits banner

Related items

  • Funding opportunity for charities supporting the community during coronavirus

    Charities are being offered an essential lifeline to allow them to carry out essential services during the coronavirus outbreak with grants available of up to £10,000.

    Norfolk Community Foundation is encouraging charities on the frontline who are making a real difference within our communities to get in touch and apply for a grant. 

    While the pandemic is affecting everyone, it’s clearly having a big impact on particular vulnerable groups that may not have their usual level of access to support so grants have never been more important.

  • Cheque Presentation to Break – Maids Head Hotel Charity 2019

    Throughout 2019, Break was the Maids Head Hotel's local charity. During the year staff and guests raised £1,184.06. We invited Danielle Gravestock from Break to receive the cheque and celebrate the fundraising success with our staff.

    The money was raised through collection buckets, a Christmas raffle and donations at special events including resident tour guide Paul Dickson's Shardlake's Norwich tours during English Tourism Week and Norfolk Day and Rob Knee from the Paston Heritage Society who gave talks about the Pastons and the Paston Letters on Norfolk Day and on 22 November. The second talk was on the anniversary of the Maids Head getting it's first official written mention in a Paston letter. A team from the Maids Head – Jonathan Brasnett, Andrew Shorthose and Rose Taylor - also completed the City of Norwich half marathon in aid of Break.

  • Maids Head Runners Support Break

    Three of the Maids Head's team, Jonathan Brasnett, Andrew Shorthose and Rose Taylor ran the City of Norwich Half Marathon on 8 April and raised £188 in sponsorship for our charity of the year, Break. The sponsorship has been matched by the hotel, making a grand total of £376.

    Sarah Bunn, Break's Fundraising Event Manager, joined us for the hotel's Vision and Values Employee Awards event on 23 April and presented certificates of appreciation and VIP supporter's badges to the running team.

    Paul Dickson, the hotel's resident tour guide, was also presented with a VIP supporter's badge for raising £147 for Break, comprising donations given at the end of his Shardlake's Norwich tours, during English Tourism Week.

  • EAAA listed as 7th in the top 100 not-for-profit companies in the UK to work for

    East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) listed as 7th in the top 100 not-for-profit companies in the UK to work for, as part of the Sunday Times’ Best Companies To Work For listing. They also went from receiving a one star to a three star rating in the year’s listing – which means they have received ‘extraordinary levels of engagement’ from their staff.

    The placing and rating of companies is based solely on staff survey feedback results, and as such is down to employee satisfaction within each organisation.

    EAAA is a helicopter emergency medical service provider covering East Anglia, with offices in Norwich, Ipswich, Cambridge, Melbourn and Peterborough. They provide a 365-day-a-year life-saving service, taking an expert crew consisting of a doctor, a critical care paramedic and two pilots directly to patients who have suffered life-threatening or life-changing accidents or medical emergencies. The clinical crew are supported by charity staff, consisting of a number of teams including; fundraising, operations, communications, HR and executive teams.

  • East Anglian Air Ambulance launch campaign to become a 24/7 service

    East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) has launched an ambitious plan to become a 24/7 helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) provider by 2020. The charity currently operates 365-days-a-year but not 24-hours-a-day, meaning that if an incident happened between midnight and 07:00 there is currently no HEMS provision in the region. The charity is aiming to cover this gap and become a full 24/7 HEMS service by 2020. To do that they need to raise an additional £1 million a year to fund the operation.

    The type of incidents the charity attend – serious road traffic collisions, cardiac arrests, traumatic injuries and other medical emergencies - do not stop when their crew go offline. While a 24/7 service seemed to make sense, the charity needed to be sure, so have been gathering evidence to prove it. They worked with the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST), who task them, to review incidents over the course of a year where critical care was required but unavailable. They also assessed the need first-hand by trialling an overnight service via rapid response vehicle (RRV) four days a week from the Norwich base. The results of this work confirmed a significant region-wide need for overnight critical care, particularly in rural Norfolk. In the first twelve months of the overnight trial they attended 220 missions, but they say that with the helicopter they could do so much more.


© All Things Norfolk 2008 - 2020
Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


RT @cromerhotel: Time to put yourself in the pictures? #Cromer is waiting for you to visit! B&B double rooms from just £100 per night this…