'Pub of the Year' for community-run local transformed after 2008 closure

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  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Ben Chapman

In villages up and down the country, pubs are often at the very heart of the community - and nowhere is that more true than in Hudswell, North Yorkshire.

But when their local, the George and Dragon, shut its doors in 2008, they thought all was lost.

So residents formed a co-op to buy it and run it themselves.

The venture has been so successful, it's just been named Pub of the Year.

When the George and Dragon shut down eight years ago, the village raised more than £200,000 to save it.

Just two years later in 2010, former Conservative leader William Hague officially re-opened the renovated, now community-run, pub.

William Hague officially reopened the newly-renovated pub in 2010 Credit: ITV News

Now the locals say they couldn't live without it.

"The church has closed, there's a village hall and not much else - it's just a row of houses otherwise without a pub like this," one patron said of Hudswell.

Another described the George and Dragon as "the place to come" if residents want to meet with their neighbours.

Now the locals say they couldn't live without the pub Credit: ITV News

Many of the patrons put the pub's newfound success down to its "good company."

But it's not community spirit alone that wins you Pub of the Year.

So what's the secret?

"Simplicity is the secret. Here we have simplified things - it's just a small Yorkshire Dales pub that serves good beer and proper grub," Stuart Miller, the landlord, says.

Landlord Stuart Miller says the pub's secret is 'simplicity' Credit: ITV News

It was something that Prince Charles, who has become a champion of community pubs in recent years, also found to his approval when he visited 18 months ago.

The George and Dragon also houses a tiny but well-stocked shop, which wouldn't otherwise exist.

The pub also houses a small but well-stocked shop Credit: ITV News

The volunteers that made it all happen say it has revitalised their village.

Handing over the award, the judges said it's the people who make the pub. Nowhere could that be more true.