APPLETON Thorn Village Hall has won the national “club of the year” title, awarded by CAMRA – the Campaign for Real Ale.
The award will be presented on Sunday May 18 - and licensees Alison and Derek Massey are planning a celebration including good beer, a buffet and a jazz band.
Clubs from all over the country entered the competition and the Appleton club was voted joint winner with Leyton Orient Football Club in London.
Derek and Alison, took over the club in July 2004. The community-owned building is used by many groups from the area.
Alison said: "At that time the beer quality was down, although the club had previously been in the Good Beer Guide."
The Appleton couple were determined to raise standards and Derek, 56, a retired haulage contractor, spent time at Grappenhall Ex-Servicemen's Club learning how to keep good beer and ensure equipment is clean.
He said: "Now our beers are very popular - we have had more than 1,500 different beers in the past three years."
Alison said people travel from all parts of Warrington to visit the club, and a couple from Devon who travel to the area to visit relatives, always call in for a beer. Real ale is very popular and there are regularly seven guest ales on offer.
The couple were thrilled to receive the award, which is voted for by CAMRA members. Venues are rated on beers but also categories such as decor, friendliness, service, facilities and toilets.
Derek said: "We are absolutely over the moon with the award. It is the icing on the cake for all the hard work we have put in.”
Pictured with Alison and Derek are their sons, Kris (left) and Justin, who help run the club.