Preston’s Red Lion celebrated with CAMRA Gold Award

Thirty years on, shareholders and villagers stand outside their pub

Shareholders and villagers stand outside the Red Lion in Preston, Hitchin, Herts - Credit: Archant

Britain's first community-owned pub has been honoured with a Gold CAMRA Award.

The Red Lion in Preston, just outside Hitchin, is one of just 32 pub winners announced today (July 15) by CAMRA - which promotes what they designate as real ale, real cider, real perry and traditional British pubs and clubs.

The history of the Preston pub goes back as far as 1844, where beer was sold in the separate cottages that then made up what we now know as the Red Lion.

In 1982, the watering hole became the first community-owned pub in Great Britain, a concept that has been copied time and time again.

The CAMRA Golden Award recognises 50 people, groups of people or businesses that have made a significant contribution to the organisation - whether they be campaigning heroes, the pub and club all stars, beer saviours and custodians and stalwarts.

Landlord Ray Lambe, who runs the pub with his wife Jo, told the Comet: "We've been so busy getting on with having a pub open again and celebrating that, it was totally out of the blue!

"CAMRA have been doing there thing for 50 years, and I didn't even know that they were selecting 50 institutions to celebrate, so it's brilliant!"

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He added: "It's lovely to be open and, on top of that, it's nice to be praised - more people need to know that it's a lovely little pub, and these awards help with that."

Ray and Jo, who have been running the Red Lion for the last 13 and a half years, said: "When we first came here, it was so quintessentially English, I wasn't really used to it! This is how the Americans view village life, and the more people that get to come here and just see that spirit is lovely.

"We also happen to have some very good food and lovely beer; it's just a lovely pub!"