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Derelict shell to best in UK – Wonston Arms named pub of the year | UK News

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A small Hampshire local that stood derelict just four years ago has been named the UK’s best pub.

The Wonston Arms was brought back from the brink by owner and landlord Matt Todd – who according to The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) has created a “fantastic” village local with a “great atmosphere”.

Judges praised the wide range of cask ales and gin on offer, as well as social events including music, quizzes, food nights and a photography club.

The pub has also raised more than £25,000 for charity.

Mr Todd said: “I’m overwhelmed that our little pub – which had been handed a death sentence four years ago – has now been named the very best in the country.

Just four years ago the Wonston Arms stood derelict
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Just four years ago the Wonston Arms stood derelict

“I have strived to recreate the kind of pub I went to in the 1970s with my dad when I was a young boy in the north of England.

“The support from the local community and beyond has been overwhelming, helping to propel us forward despite these testing times.

“Ultimately, I’d like to see our pub play a vital role in supporting and employing local residents and recirculating the local pounds that are spent in our pub.”

Ben Wilkinson, national pub of the year coordinator, said: “Matt and his team have created a fantastic rural village pub with a great atmosphere by shaping it around the community and its needs.

“Pubs like The Wonston Arms highlight what communities stand to lose if their local pub closes – something being experienced in all too many places.

“These types of pubs are more than just businesses, they are the heart of our local communities and part of what makes the UK the country it is.”

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