Delight as village pubs win awards

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A PAIR of proud pubs have won regional awards at the industry’s equivalent to the Oscars.

Gestingthorpe’s The Pheasant was crowned Best Food Pub 2011 for East Anglia, while The Henny Swan picked up Best Turnaround Pub in the Great British Pub awards.

Sian Clark, general manager at The Henny Swan in Henny Street, Great Henny, said: “We were elated. We’ve put a lot of work into this pub and obviously that has paid off.

Best Turnaround Pub is awarded to the pub that has been reinvigorated and renovated in the last year.

“We’ve had a few people in the village saying they are thrilled the pub has reopened as they thought it would be turned into housing,” said Mrs Clark.

For Diana and James Donoghue, owners of The Pheasant, in Church Street, the award was not the only piece of good news.

“We were very pleased indeed,” said Mrs Donoghue. “It is a bit of a triple celebration, as we have been here five years and we have just had the opening of the coach house hotel rooms.”

The Pheasant’s kitchen is staffed by owner James, as well as young chefs Kevin Entwistle, 23, and Matthew Wheatley, 17.

“They were all very pleased,” said Mrs Donoghue. “We are having a good year, as we are in the finals of the Anglian Business Awards in July and the finals of Best Gastro Pub in Essex too.”

Both pubs will now go head-to-head with seven other regional champions at the Great British Pub Awards final at the Hilton Hotel in London on September 8, hosted by Rory Bremner.

They will also compete for the overall title of Great British Pub of the Year.