A village pub in North Yorkshire that was saved from closure through a community buyout, and whose facilities now include a library and a shop has been named the best in the country.
The George & Dragon in Hudswell, near Richmond, closed in 2008 after the owners went bankrupt, but regulars formed a co-operative to buy and refurbish it before it reopened in 2010.
It has now been named Pub of the Year by the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).
Its closure left the small village with no facilities other than a community hall, and locals were determined that on re-opening it would offer more than a traditional pub.
As well as acting as a meeting place and venue, it is now home to the village library, a local shop staffed by volunteers, community allotments and free internet access for its patrons.
Camra said it was “particularly impressed with the pub’s warm and welcoming atmosphere and strong community ethos”.
Landlord Stu Miller 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.
“We’re a small Yorkshire Dales pub, owned by the community and run by me and my family, I’m extremely proud of what our little pub has achieved.”
Pub of the Year organiser Paul Ainsworth said: “The George & Dragon is a great example of how a pub has been resurrected as a true community asset.
“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.
“The story of The George & Dragon goes to show that in the right hands a closed pub can become viable and successful.
“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.”
James Alcock, general manager at Plunkett Foundation, which provided support and funding for The George & Dragon, said: “Community-owned pubs such as The George & Dragon are an exceptional example of how a community can succeed in running an enterprise.
“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.”