Community-owned pub crowned pub of the year

A small village pub that was saved from closure by its community has been named National Pub of the Year by the Campaign for Real Ale

The George & Dragon pub closed in 2008, leaving the small North Yorkshire village of Hudswell with no community facilities other than a village hall. But within two years, some 160 residents had come together to form the Hudswell Community Pub group, raising more than £200,000 to buy back the pub. Following renovations, it reopened in June 2010.

But the new George & Dragon offers far more than a traditional pub, says its backers. It acts as a meeting place and venue, is home to the village library, a shop staffed by volunteers, community allotments and also offers free internet access. And it has now been named this year’s National Pub of the Year by the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).

We’re a small Yorkshire Dales pub, owned by the community. I’m extremely proud

Judges were impressed by the pub’s warm and welcoming atmosphere and strong community ethos. Paul Ainsworth from Camra 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.”

Pub manager Stu Miller added: “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.”

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