Saved from closure by the local community, the George & Dragon pub in North Yorkshire has won CAMRA's National Pub of the Year award.
The small pub in the village of Hudswell was closed in 2008, and, left with no pub, the villagers naturally had to take serious action. Rallying together they formed the Hudswell Community Pub Ltd group, re-opening the pub in June 2010 following extensive renovations.
Offering more than just Northern spirit (both kinds), the pub will also be a meeting place and venue, as well as the home to the village library, a local shop staffed by volunteers, community allotments and free internet access.
'The George & Dragon is a great example of how a pub has been resurrected as a true community asset,' revealed Paul Ainsworth, CAMRA’s Pub of the Year finalist coordinator. 'To go from closed doors to winning national Pub of the Year in just a few short years is a fantastic achievement for any pub – and all the more impressive for one that is cooperatively owned.'
'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,' added Stu Miller, manager of the George & Dragon.
'Since we took over The George & Dragon in 2014 we've strived to achieve our vision for the pub... a small friendly Dales village pub serving first rate beers and wholesome food. To be appreciated for these goals by our customers and CAMRA is extremely satisfying and makes all the hard work worthwhile.'
According to CAMRA, it was particularly impressed with the warm and welcoming atmosphere, strong community ethos, large beer terrace with views over the Swale Valley and the current landlord's passion for quality beer, real ales and cider.
Their efforts to secure beer for the village have led to the pub being crowned the prestigious and well-respected title. It will be presented with a plaque by Ainsworth later today. Runners up in the competition are the Salutation Inn in Ham, Gloucestershire, the Stanford Arms in Lowestoft, Norfolk and the Swan with Two Necks in Pendleton, Lancashire.