Eighteen Enterprise licensees – all regional winners – were invited to the Community Hero Awards ceremony at the Plough at Leigh in Kent, attended by community pubs minister Brandon Lewis.
But the judges singled out the Lord Nelson for the national award – and £10,000 prize – for being at the heart if its village throughout the year.
“Popularly known as ‘The Nelly’, the pub is a haven in floods or snow, both of which can bring the village to a halt – and when locals were concerned about the time for an ambulance to get to them in bad weather, Debbie stepped up and became a first responder,” said awards presenter, TV show host and former rally driver Penny Mallory.
“Debbie plays an active role in promoting her village further afield by playing a full part in Luddenden’s annual goal of winning Britain’s Village in Bloom, and by working tirelessly with other local businesses to attract walkers and tourists to the area.”
Collinge plans to spend her winnings on: IT equipment for customers to use; an annual time trial cycling event in the village; a defibrillator; and a gritter and plough to service the village roads.
Enterprise’s Community Hero Awards recognise publicans who make a real difference to the communities that they serve.
The company said: “It’s more than just pulling great pints, offering wonderful food or creating a welcoming atmosphere. It’s about real heart and going above and beyond the usual call of duty for a publican to bring people together and have a positive impact on the local community.”
Ed Cottrell, commercial director, said: “The best part of a wonderful evening for me was when Jim Woolley, Publican at The Hare Inn, Leighton Buzzard and last year’s National Winner, stood up and gave a heartfelt expression of how important the community was to any pub, and a simple thank you for being recognised for it. That summed up why everyone was there, and made me proud to be in this industry.”