Pubs were nominated by readers of Trinity Mirror publications for being anything but ordinary and particularly for having an extraordinary story to tell. A public vote determined regional finalists from thousands of nominations, then an overall winner was selected from the finalists by a panel of judges.
The Royal Oak, a traditional pub in the Yorkshire village of Linthwaite, run by landlady Jeanne Brennan for the past 14 years, came out on top.
The premises runs pub quizzes, regular seasonal events, live music nights and charity fundraisers, raising more than £36,000 for good causes since Brennan took over.
According to the local community, the landlady is at the heart of the pub’s unique charm and it is her driving force that ensures the pub goes out of its way to help people.
Brennan said meeting McGuiness was an unforgettable experience and that she plans to use the prize money to help establish a Home Alone Club to ensure those who live on their own have local events to look forward to.
Ifeoma Dozie, beer brand director at Heineken, which owns John Smith’s, said: “We are a nation of pub lovers and the energy and excitement behind this campaign has cemented this. The range of nominations we received was quite extraordinary and is testament to the hard work of licensees up and down the country.
“This campaign shows, without a doubt, that pubs in the UK are so much more than a place to enjoy a pint – they are at the heart of their local community.”