Community-owned pub the King’s Arms, in Shouldham, Norfolk, has been named West Norfolk Pub of the Year by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) for the second year running.
The historic village pub, which dates back to the 17th century, was saved from closure by locals after owner Punch Taverns put it up for sale in 2012.
Villagers – who had already seen five local pubs close – set up a community company, Shouldham Community Enterprises (SCE), and launched a fundraising appeal.
They managed to buy the premises and reopen it September 2014 after raising £150,000 and attracting advice and support from the Department of Communities and Local Government, non-profit support service Pub is the Hub, the Plunkett Foundation and the Geoffrey Watling Charity.
The bid was backed by the local CAMRA branch which helped gain momentum for the campaign, with support from Eastern Daily Press editor Nigel Pickover and – with a helpful tweet – Stephen Fry.
The pub is now running successfully with over 20 real ales on offer, and also operates a community cafe.
Landlord Ian Skinner said: “We are delighted and a little surprised to have won branch pub of the year again – a big thank you must go to our fantastic team, to our customers, to the breweries who supply us with great beer and of course to drinkers and CAMRA members who have voted for us.”
Abbie Panks, vice chair of SCE, said: “The pub has grown from strength to strength in the two and a half years it’s been open.
“To have won POTY for the second year running is a real testament to the hard work of our great team. Being a community pub represents people and we are still delighted to have been able to reopen the pub and be able to provide a welcoming space to socialise, build new friendships and to strengthen our community.”
Nicole Hamilton, head of frontline and project manager for Plunkett’s More Than A Pub programme, said: “We’re thrilled to hear that the King’s Arms in Shouldham has been named CAMRA West Norfolk Pub of the Year.
“This is a very successful and committed co-operative pub group, who deserve all the recognition they receive. With plans to continue to build on providing even more opportunities for local people, we wish them every success.”
Last year, the pub won Plunkett’s East of England Award, with judges citing its monthly quizzes supporting charities such as Cystic Fibrosis Trust and The British Legion and provision of school meals to the local St Martins School.