The Chestnut Horse, Great Finborough, 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 Partner Sharon Shipp and the team at The Chestnut Horse 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 Chestnut Horse has recently benefitted from a £110,000 investment which has seen an extension added to the back of the pub, as well as refurbishments throughout. The pub also has a new coffee offer and a new wine menu, and offers mid-week roasts on Wednesdays, all made by Sharon, who is a self-taught cook. Locals are also treated to a monthly quiz night, weekly poker nights, monthly live music, and an open mic night which also takes place monthly.

The Chestnut Horse also impressed the judges with their dedication to the local community. Sharon and the team regularly raise money for worthy causes, including the Great Finborough Play Park refurbishment scheme, and will be holding a MacMillan Coffee Morning on the 28th September. Intent on bringing the local community together, the pub also hosts a number of events and activities, including annual pumpkin carving and conker competitions, and the historic Bog Race, which will soon be making its long-awaiting return after a five-year hiatus. Keen to reach all parts of the community, Sharon has also delivered Sunday roasts to elderly locals since March 2020. 

Sharon, who has been running the pub for two years, said: “When I took the pub on in September 2019, it was almost derelict, and had gone through many different landlords who offered what they wanted to offer, but not what the community needed. With the help of my lovely locals and amazing team, we transformed the pub into what it is today, serving a range of ales and good quality non-pretentious food - and the pub has gone from strength to strength. 

“When Covid hit, the pub served as a lifeline for many in the community, as elderly villagers were unable to get supplies. In under a week the pub became a fantastic village shop selling everything from toiletries to fresh produce and many other things! I still have to pinch myself when I think about how popular we are with our locals; it really does make me well up. My team and I always put the community first, and we couldn’t be happier or more humbled to be shortlisted for Hawthorn Pub of the Year.”

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.

Andrew Parker, Director of Leased and Tenanted Operations at Hawthorn, said: “We are thrilled for Sharon and the whole team at The Chestnut Horse for being announced as finalists in the Great British Pub Awards. At Hawthorn we encourage all of our Partners to be community heroes, and this nomination is testament to the hard work Sharon has 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 Chestnut Horse the best of luck.”

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