Community pub wins CAMRA accolade

THE first community owned pub in the country has been voted the best in North Herts.

The Red Lion in Preston won pub of the year in a competition run by North Herts CAMRA.

It was judged the best across a range of categories including the quality of the beer, atmosphere, service, and clientele mix.

The pub was bought by the villagers in 1982, with many owning a share in the pub, and is currently run by Ray and Jo Lambe.

“I was absolutely thrilled when I heard we’d won, it’s what I’ve always wanted,” said Ray.

“There is a real community feel. The villagers have a share, and the money goes back into the pub. I’m proud to be the manager.

“If you’re friendly and welcoming, then people come back, and it helps that my wife is a fantastic cook. It’s a nice atmosphere here, and the quality of beer is good. Beer is like the wine of England.”

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Ray and Jo have been at the pub just over three years, and ran the Windmill in Charlton before.

Their pub, which is also in the Good Pub Guide, beat the other 220 in the district to win the award.

Brian Mason, from North Herts CAMRA, said: “It’s a very good pub, and very CAMRA led. Whenever you go in, you always get a warm welcome, and they have nice food which is very good value.

“There’s a broad age range, young and old people use it. If you go in at lunch time, you get locals just popping in for a drink or bite to eat.”