National crown looms for community pub

Phil Bell of The Village Inn, Longframlington.

Phil Bell of The Village Inn, Longframlington.

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A Longframlington pub could toast a double helping of success in a prestigious national competition.

The Village Inn has been named as a finalist in two categories in The Great British Pub Awards 2012.

Having been recognised as the Best Community Pub in Yorkshire, North East and Scotland, it will now go up against five other venues from across the land in the national final.

The Village Inn is also a finalist in the Best Smoking Area category.

Now in its ninth year, the competition puts the spotlight on publicans who demonstrate real excellence.

The awards are seen as the pre-eminent accolades in the industry, attracting hundreds of entries from thriving pubs around the UK.

Village Inn owner Terry Maughan is delighted the pub has made it through to the final in not just one, but two categories.

“It is good news,” he said.

“With the current economic climate, all you hear is that pubs are closing at an increasing rate.

“Yet The Village Inn, with its dedicated, hard-working team has been recognised.”

The pub certainly plays its part within the community.

It offers free soup and a roll for senior citizens on several days in the winter, hosts a free Christmas party for children, has a number of teams, such as football and darts, and uses local produce, among other things .

It also helps with fund-raising activities and hosts charity auctions. This year, it is helping to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

In the Best Community Pub section, The Village Inn will battle it out against the Red Lion, in Wolverhampton, the White Horse, in Tilbrook, Manchester’s The Lass O’Gowrie, The Old Sargeant Pub in London, and Swindon’s White Hart Inn.

Meanwhile, the north Northumberland venue will go toe to toe with The Empress in Cambridge, The Lamb Inn, Norwich, Bristol’s Waldegrave Arms, Keighley’s Royal Oak, and Rhoderick DHU in Glasgow in the Best Smoking Area contest.

The final will be held at The Hilton, on Park Lane, in London on Thursday, September 13.

The awards will be presented by stand-up comedian Jason Manford.

Other categories in the 2012 event include Best Cask Beer Pub, Best Cellar Pub and Best Sports Pub.