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Alan Bryan and Nicola Kay, Publicans of The Avenue Inn in High Shincliffe,  have been recognised as Punch’s overall Publican of the Year for the North East and Cumbria region.

Alan and Nicola have been running Durham-based B&B since August 2014, and have recently completed an investment into their letting rooms to ensure they provide high quality accommodation, alongside a strong food and drink offering.

The pair were recognised at a dedicated awards evening held at The Parkwood Hotel in Stockton, which was attended by Publicans from across the area, and a host of Punch team members, including Operations Director Giles Kendall, Regional Operations Director Mandy Southall and Category Manager Stephen Martin. The Parkwood Hotel has recently undergone a £400,000 total investment itself, including a complete refurbishment of the bar, restaurant, breakfast room, reception, toilets and all six letting rooms, making it the perfect location for the event.

Mandy Southall said: “Alan and Nicola who were nominated by Kevin Shears are very worthy winners of our Publican of the Year Award for the North East and Cumbria.

“The Avenue has gone from strength to strength thanks to their hard work and commitment, and has received tremendous feedback from all quarters. Their line cleaning is outstanding and the reviews on TripAdvisor and through our Mystery Shoppers speak for themselves.  Together they make a fantastic team, and the pub is at the heart of the community where it belongs.”

This was the first time these awards were held in the North East region, with 300 pubs eligible for the prize. Each area manager in the North East and Cumbria nominated their own Publican of the Year, and recipient of a Special Recognition Award, with The Avenue chosen as the overall winner by Punch. Additional awards were also given for commercial innovation through the New Business category, and the Mystery Shopper Award, for the pub with the highest total mystery shopper score across the last year.

Giles Kendall, Operations Director at Punch commented: “It’s very important for us to continually recognise the great achievements of our Publicans, and awards such as these are a great opportunity for everybody to get together and celebrate their hard work.

“It was a wonderful evening enjoyed by all, and the outstanding thing for me was the number of long serving Publicans who all said it was the best thing Punch has ever done.”

The full list of nominees for the awards is as follows:

Publican of the Year Nominations:

Dennis Wann – The Sailmakers, Hull

Alan Bryan & Nicola Kay – The Avenue, Shincliffe

Malvern Inns – Square & Compass, North Rigton

David Carr – The Tannery, Hexham & Brandling Villa, Gosforth

Mark Herdman – The Sun Inn, Burnopfield

Matt Cooper – The Wheatsheaf, Ingleton

Joe Moran – The Ings Hotel, Guiseley, Leeds


Special Recognition Winners:

Mick Waddington – The Windsor, Bridlington

John Eddy – The Masham, Hartburn

Kath & Les Sputt – The Lamb & Flag, Ripon

Julie Ridley – Fox & Hounds, Wylam

Gordon & Elaine Littlewood – The Mallard, Seaham

Christine Bintcliffe – The Carnforth Hotel, Carnforth

Dawn Hazelgrave – The Queen, Leeds

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