A couple running a Sheffield pub received an award this week - two years to the day since their arrival.
Until Gill Oxley and Nic Barber took over the New Inn in Gleadless Common, there were fears that it may have to close after being part of the community for 150 years.
Gill and Nic have turned it around to an extent that they were presented with Sheffield Campaign for Real Ale’s Pub of the Month award on Tuesday.
“We’re pleased as punch,” said Gill.
Which is appropriate as the pub is owned by Punch Taverns.
Yet the couple, who have run seven pubs between them over the years, have stamped their own mark on the premises at the corner of Hollinsend Road and Gleadless Common.
“We have been able to make it a community local,” said Gill, who was born and bred not too far away in Arbourthorne.
“It’s a tough trade we are in these days. You have got to have something, and we are really happy that we have found something that is working.”
One of the first jobs was to get a children’s licence, and youngsters were taken on a day trip to Cleethorpes this summer.
There’s a quiz night, and the Parent Teacher Association of a local school now meets at the pub, which has been refurbished. “It was in a state of disrepair. There was a big hole in the tap room ceiling.”
A range of new beers as a result of access to the guest list of SIBA, the Society of Independent Brewers Association, has met with the approval of Camra.
“Now we can have plenty of Sheffield’s brilliant local brews,” said Gill, who is licensee and runs the pub with Nic, after they moved from the Old Pond in Brighouse, West Yorkshire.
Camra said: “There were local concerns that the pub could be lost forever or, even if saved, might become a keg only and/or chips with everything food -orientated pub. However, since Gill and Nic’s control, it has blossomed into a true community local, welcoming people from all walks of life.”
Gill, who married Nic, from Chesterfield, in a civil ceremony last year, has been in the pub trade “in one way or another” for 30 years.
“It’s extremely hard work, 27-7 near enough,” she said.
“At weekends we could do with an extension because it is full and at the last beer festival, people couldn’t get anywhere to sit or stand ... but we only have a festival twice a year.”
The Sheffield branch of Camra holds its 39th Steel City Beer and Cider Festival at Ponds Forge from October 23 to 26.