The Fox and Hounds, South Godstone, 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 Partners Ellie Conway and Nick Charles and the team at the Fox and Hounds 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 Fox and Hounds has recently benefitted from a £45,000 investment to its outdoor area, which has seen the addition of a Garden Room, which features an inside and outside area for locals to enjoy, four seating pods, a sheltered seating area alongside the entrance to the pub, and an extended seating area at the front of the pub. Well known for its high standards and exemplary service amongst locals, the Fox and Hounds also has a strong online presence, supported by the younger members of the team.

The Fox and Hounds also impressed the judges with their dedication to the local community. The pub quickly pivoted during lockdown to offer takeaway options for elderly locals, and is a dedicated supporter of the local Women’s Institute (WI), regularly providing areas for meetings and offering facilities so the group can carry out its activities.

Ellie and Nick, who have been running the pub for over 9 years, said: “We’ve been in a complete state of wonderment since we found out yesterday that we’ve been shortlisted for the award. It’s absolutely fantastic and hasn’t quite sunk in yet. When we were initially put forward for the award it was around the time that we had an awful flood, but we all donned our wellies and a monumental effort was put in by the team to get the pub back in order, and this is the result! 

“Our local community really suffered during lockdown, and since things have started to return to normal, we’ve been receiving bouquets of flowers and cards with lovely messages thanking us for the support we gave, and we will continue that support for all of our locals. We’d also like to say a huge thank you to Hawthorn for the support they’ve given us over the last 18 months; not just financially, but also with help and advice. They are a wonderful pub company to work with and we are privileged to be recognised as one of the Top 6 Hawthorn pubs!”

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 Ellie, Nick, and the whole team at The Fox and Hounds 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 Ellie and Nick 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 Fox and Hounds the best of luck.”

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