BRITAIN'S only co-operative pub ? the Old Crown in Hesket Newmarket, Cumbria ? entertained a very special guest when the Prince of Wales dropped in for a drink during a whistle-stop visit to the Lake District.
Prince Charles was in the village to help launch a new guide on how to save your local as part of his "Pub is the Hub" initiative founded in 2001 and supported by Business in the Community, the Countryside Agency and the British Pub and Beer Guide Association.
Hesket Newmarket first became a focus for co-op action in 1999 when activists joined together to buy the village's tiny brewery and save it from closure. Then, when the pub was simillarly threatened four years later, a separate co-op was formed to maintain the Old Crown as a going concern and the hub of community activity.
The Old Crown is now thriving under the care of licensee Lou Hogg and his wife Linda, who purchased a lease from the co-op last September. During his time in the village, Prince Charles also visited the village shop and post office as well as the Hesket Newmarket Brewery, where he unveiled a plaque celebrating a new extension which houses a cask storage and processing area.
Brewery manager Mike Parker said: `With the completion of the building and other on-going improvements, we are well on our way to achieving my aim of making this one of the top microbreweries in the country`.
In our picture, the Prince raises a pint during his visit to the Old Crown with Mr Hogg in the background.