SITUATED in a quiet valley close to the West Yorkshire town of Halifax, the Shibden Mill Inn has been part of the local communities life.
Now the 17th century pub is celebrating a proud new chapter in its history after being given the enviable accolade of Yorkshire’s Favourite Pub at the Great Yorkshire Show.
The historic inn was awarded the accolade after thousands of members of the general public voted for their favourite local.
The competition, run by Yorkshire’s tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire, in association with the Yorkshire Post, saw pubs from all over the country being nominated before a judging panel whittled them down to a shortlist of 12, with the public then voting for a winner from this list.
As their name was read out owner Simon Heaton and manager Glen Pearson both cheered and punched the air in delight before walking up to the stage in the Welcome to Yorkshire tent to claim their trophy.
Both men paid tribute to the hard work of all of their staff and said that the award was a tremendous vindication of all the hard work they had put in to make the pub a success.
When asked about the secret of the pub’s attraction, Mr Heaton said: “It has to be a bit of everything.
“The welcome, the food, the drink, the staff, the people who come in - it is all of them in equal proportion.”
Mr Pearson said it was a victory for all of the staff.
“We are just so pleased. We have a lot of regulars who come in all the time. They know us and the staff know them.”
The Shibden Mill Inn was up against some very stiff competition and Mr Heaton said that when the shortlist for the award had been unveiled they had felt quiet overawed.
However in the end the public judged them to be Yorkshire’s Favourite Pub, with the George and Dragon at Hudswell coming in second and the Shoulder of Mutton at Kirkby Overblown coming in third.
Mr Pearson added that the trophy would be placed at pride of place behind the bar for all the customers to see.
“It is great to celebrate pubs this way. It is sad when you drive around and see To Let signs up. We are lucky that we own the place.
“You have to diversify and you have to work hard, which is what we have done.
“When we took on the place it needed a bit of attention and love, which we have it.
“But we had a big vision for the place. It needed a lot of investment and hard work which is what we gave it.
“We have been lucky to win some awards recently but this really is the icing on the case.”
Welcome to Yorkshire launched the competition back in April when the first round of voting began.
The organisers said it had been a great success as a competition.
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “I am delighted by the response we have had to our competition at every stage from both our great pubs and their patrons.
“The thousands of votes that have poured in during the last couple of months just go to show that not only do we have an unrivalled mix of pubs here in Yorkshire, but the passion and interest is incredibly strong.
“Our aim was to celebrate and promote pubs across Yorkshire - and we hope that’s what we have done through the competition and the new Ale Trail, which is an engaging, informative guide for visitors to the great county.”
Ultimately the 12 finalists in the competition attracted almost 3,000 votes between them.
The award was presented in a specially mocked up pub inside the Welcome to Yorkshire tent, in front of a crowd of hundreds of onlookers.
• The trail, featuring pubs from all across the region, is supported by T&R Theakston, whose executive director Simon Theakston said: “The trail will give people a real taste of the amazing offer of friendly pubs and some of the best ales in the country.”
See this Saturday’s Country Week supplement of the Yorkshire Post for a full run down of the pubs included in the Ale Trail.