The cooperatively-owned George & Dragon pub in Hudswell, North Yorkshire, has won the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) National Pub of the Year award

March 3, 2017

A small village pub which was saved from closure by the local community has won CAMRA’s National Pub of the Year award - one of the most respected and well-known pub awards in the UK.

The George and Dragon is located in the village of Hudswell, set in Swaledale and in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales National Park.

With a population of around 200 people, the pub has always played an important role in community life. Following its closure and after a long campaign, Hudswell Community Pub Ltd raised over £200,000 to buy and renovate the George and Dragon, and it reopened in 2010 as Yorkshire’s first co-operative pub.

The committee and tenants worked tirelessly to make sure the pub became the beating heart of the community once again, and went on to open a community-owned shop adjacent to the pub, a community allotment, and offer a library service from the pub itself. All of the local organisations, the book club, folk club, blues night, quiz nights, dominoes team, allotment holders and mountain rescue team continue to use the pub for their meetings.

In 2015, our Patron HRH The Prince of Wales visited the George and Dragon to hear how they have been inspiring other communities to run similar ventures. The pub has played host to a number of study visits organised by the Plunkett Foundation as part of a project we have funded to help groups looking to save their pub in their own village learn from each other.

On receiving the award Stu Miller, Landlord of the George & Dragon says: “We are truly thrilled to have been recognised by CAMRA with this award, it shows that hard work, good beer and the support of the community can help you achieve goals that seemed impossible only a short while ago.

“Since we took over the George & Dragon in 2014 we’ve strived to achieve our vision for the pub… a small friendly Dales village pub serving first rate beers and wholesome food. To be appreciated for these goals by our customers and CAMRA is extremely satisfying and makes all the hard work worthwhile.

“We’re a small Yorkshire Dales pub, owned by the community and run by me and my family, I’m extremely proud of what our little pub has achieved.”

James Alcock, General Manager at Plunkett Foundation, which provided support and funding for the George & Dragon, says: “Community-owned pubs such as The George & Dragon are an exceptional example of how a community can succeed in running an enterprise. Within a short space of time, a community has rallied together in order to save a vital village resource and have now been rewarded for all their hard work. Let this award be a credit to all who are involved with the project and we wish all at The George & Dragon success for the future.”

Since 2010 much of the support Plunkett Foundation has been able to provide the George and Dragon has been thanks to The Prince’s Countryside Fund.