The cooperatively-owned George & Dragon pub in Hudswell, North Yorkshire, has won the Campaign for Real Ale’s (Camra) National Pub of the Year award.
The pub closed in 2008, leaving the village with no other facilities apart from a village hall, but within two years reopened after extensive renovations as a result of the local community banding together to form the Hudswell Community Pub Group and buying back the pub.
As well as acting as a meeting place and venue, it is also home to the village library, a local shop staffed by volunteers, community allotments, and offers free internet access for its patrons.
Camra was particularly impressed with the pub’s warm and welcoming atmosphere and strong community ethos, the large beer terrace offering panoramic views over the Swale Valley, and the range of real ales and ciders available.
The pub will be presented with a plaque by Camra’s national executive representative Ken Davies to commemorate the award tomorrow (3 March).
Pubs are selected by Camra volunteers and judged on their atmosphere, decor, welcome, service, value for money, customer mix, and most importantly quality of beer. All nominated pubs in the competition are independently assessed by a panel of Camra volunteers throughout the year.
Runners up in the competition were the Salutation Inn in Ham, Gloucestershire; the Stanford Arms in Lowestoft, Norfolk; and the Swan with Two Necks in Pendleton, Lancashire.
Paul Ainsworth, Camra’s Pub of the Year finalist coordinator said to go from closed doors to National Pub of the Year in just a few years is a “fantastic achievement”, especially for a cooperatively owned one.
He said: “We are very impressed with the work the community group has undertaken to save their local and hope that other communities are encouraged by the example when faced with an ongoing battle to save their own local.”
Stu Miller, the pub landlord, said: “We are truly thrilled to have been recognised by CAMRA with this award, it shows that hard work, good beer and the support of the community can help you achieve goals that seemed impossible only a short while ago.”
James Alcock, general manager at the Plunkett Foundation, which provided support and funding for the pub, added: “Within a short space of time, a community has rallied together in order to save a vital village resource and have now been rewarded for all their hard work. Let this award be a credit to all who are involved with the project and we wish all at the George & Dragon success for the future.”
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