The Railway, Featherstone, has been announced as a finalist in the Great British Pub Awards for its fantastic work in supporting the local community.

Shortlisted in the Hawthorn Pub of the Year category, Pub Operator Harold Box and the team at The Railway impressed the judges with their exemplary standards and dedication to the local community, and now face stiff competition from the five other finalists.

The pub is owned by Hawthorn, the community pub company, which owns more than 700 pubs across Scotland, England and Wales. 

A true community hub, The Railway has recently benefited from a £95k investment that saw it completely redecorated, and Harold also bought five gazebos with his own money to increase the pub’s outdoor capacity. A stage has been built in the beer garden for events, and the pub is planning a summer full of fun and entertainment for locals. The pub also sponsors a number of local sports teams, and even set up a football team for the community, who have been unbeaten all year.

The Railway also impressed the judges with their dedication to the local community. Throughout lockdown, the team had regular phone calls with lonely and vulnerable locals, and they also dropped off shopping, cooked and baked for those living alone. They are dedicated to helping charities close to their hearts and have raised over £5,000 for various charities over the past 10 years, including the Willow Foundation and Trussell Trust – Stop UK Hunger. A huge charity event is also planned to take place on 28th August for their chosen charity for this year, The Prince of Wales Hospice, which will include live entertainment, fun fair rides and games.

Harold, who has been running the pub for 10 years, said: “It’s brilliant to have been announced as a finalist in the Great British Pub Awards and it’s really rewarding to be recognised. We’re all so excited, and have had loads of congratulations from our regulars. I have to give a huge thank you to my family and staff who have been fantastic throughout the pandemic and in getting the pub back up and running. I’m lucky to have loyal staff who always go the extra mile in creating a welcoming atmosphere for our wonderful community, and this nomination is a fantastic recognition of all our hard work.”

The finalists will be visited by the judges over the next few weeks, with the winners set to be revealed on Tuesday 28th September. This years’ awards will take on a hybrid format to include a livestreamed awards ceremony and an overall winners’ event, where one overall winner from across all of the categories will go on to be awarded the title of Great British Pub of the Year.

Mark Brooke, Director of Managed Operations, said: “We are thrilled for Harold, Christine and the whole team at The Railway for being announced as finalists in the Great British Pub Awards. At Hawthorn we encourage all of our Operators to be community heroes and this nomination is testament to the hard work Harold and Christine have put into making the pub a thriving community hub. The work they have done for the local community is admirable, and we wish everyone at The Railway the best of luck.”

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