THE Cropthorne Bell has been crowned the Evesham Journal’s Pub of the Year 2019.

And in a close competition, which went right to the wire, the Pershore watering hole came top by just one vote.

The pub is run by husband and wife team Jane Burney and husband Andre, who told the Journal he was “absolutely gobsmacked” when a Journal reporter gave him the news.

The chef said: “I’m just really shocked, really surprised.

“Thank you to everybody for voted for us - they say it is the people who make a pub.

“The award is testament to all the staff's hard work, and to our customers.

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“They are the ones who make it a great atmosphere, and everybody is friendly.

“It is just amazing to hear we won.”

The couple took over the running of the Main Road-based country pub in September 2016, and it has been going from strength-to-strength ever since. Mrs Burney told the Journal last month they prided themselves as being a pub run for the community, including holding regular fundraisers.

Support for the establishment shone through as it received praise on the nominations slips that flooded into the Evesham Journal office.

One voter said the pub offered “a really lovely atmosphere for dining out”, while another said: “it provides a good service for villagers in Cropthorne”.

Another voter added: “The most attentive, genuinely friendly service we have ever had in a pub.”

Narrowly pipped at the finishing line was the Vineyard Inn at Salford Priors whose voters said it was “everything you would want your local to be”.

And in third, only a few votes behind, was The Red Lion in Evesham, whose voters said its staff were friendly, and it had a “warm atmosphere”.

As it has been named the winner the Cropthorne Bell will receive a coveted trophy in the new year, and an invite to the Houses of Parliament by the town’s MP Nigel Huddleston.

Michael Purton, Evesham Journal editor, said: “The competition has once again proved a massive success with readers.

"After an exciting, close competition we say congratulations to everyone at the Cropthorne Bell, and the runners up.”