Redcar publican crowned community hero of 2016

By Helen Gilbert

- Last updated on GMT

The winning licensees, Russell and Sarah Clark
The winning licensees, Russell and Sarah Clark
Publicans Russell and Sarah Clark of the Cleveland Bay in Redcar, North Yorkshire, have been named the national winners of the Enterprise Inns Community Hero Awards.

The couple, who fought off competition from 535 entries to earn the overall accolade, as well as £6,000, were credited for their "tireless efforts" to make the pub a true hub of the community.

Activity that won praise from the judges included work to make the pub fully accessible and the hosting of group meetings at the venue almost every night of the week, Enterprise said.

The Clarks plan to spend the prize money on providing free transport for less able customers.

“This will enable them to get out a bit more and socialise, especially in the dark winter months,” Russell said. “We intend to provide a free door-to-door service with a seven-seated vehicle, free of charge. The bus route that runs past the pub is under threat at the moment, which could isolate a lot of the elderly people who rely on the public transport.”

The latest triumph comes 12 months after the pair won the North East Community Hero Award and £3,000 prize money, which was put towards a £5,000 project to make the pub fully accessible for their disabled and elderly customers.

Ramps and handrails were installed, along with with additional external lighting for safety.

Held at the Chesford Grange Hotel, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, this week, the awards ceremony celebrated 18 regional winners who each received £3,000 to spend on local community initiatives.

National runner-up, the Lunar Hare, Andover, Hampshire, run by publican Allen Watts, won £5,000 with Watts pledging to spend a year barefoot to raise money for children in Africa.

“Judging the Enterprise Community Heroes Awards is never easy,” Enterprise sales and marketing director James Armitage said. “The stories we hear from our talented publicans are truly heart-warming and reaffirm the vital role pubs play in communities across the UK. We are incredibly proud of all of our finalists, and in particular Russell and Sarah who are the epitome of great publicans.”

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