County pubs shine

Three Shropshire pubs have been shortlisted as finalists in the prestigious Great British Pub Awards. Whitchurch’s Hamner Arms has been listed for Turnaround Pub, while the Crown Inn in Oakengates is up for Best Beer Pub, and the Pheasant in Neenton has been put forward for Best Community Pub.

The Pheasant, rescued by the local community after being closed for nine years, is now owned as a social enterprise by local people, but professionally run by hospitality professionals Mark Harris and Sarah Cowley. John Pickup, chair of Neenton Community Society which owns the Pheasant, explains, “As we’re only a small village, the Pheasant has to prosper as a business so it can be our village local and the social and economic hub of our community. That means we have to attract people not just from miles around but the whole country to eat, drink and stay with us.”

Sarah adds, “We’re just thrilled to have made it to the finals, but our recipe, Mark’s delicious food aside, is simple. As one guest put it – you give everyone the same welcome, whether they’re in a tiara or wellies! We all try to make every customer glad they came, sorry to leave, and impatient to come back.”

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