THE manager of a community-run pub near Whitchurch has spoken of his delight and surprise after winning an award in the Countryside Alliance Awards.

The White Lion in Ash Magna won the award for 'Best Country Pub' in the Midlands.

And it means manager Shaun Embrey and his team will be heading to the national finals in the House of Lords in London in May.

Shaun spoke of his shock to win the award as the White Lion was up against strong competition.

He said: "It was a shock and a surprise, there were a lot of pubs up for this award.


"We were chuffed to have won in our region and to get through to the final.

"Being a community-owned pub has really helped us."

Shaun is looking forward to the trip to the House of Lords for the national finals.

He said: "It is great. I did not realise how prestigious the one in the House of Lords is.

"We are the only community pub and it is really good to fly the flag for such an interesting business model."

Whitchurch Herald:

The White Lion manager spoke about the challenges the pub faced over the last two years, but believes more people have shown interest in country pubs.

Shaun said: "It has been the hardest years I have ever experienced in the pub trade. I hear about pubs collapsing.

"Post Covid-19, there has been a lot more emphasis on country pubs specifically. People have embraced the idea of more independent country pubs.

"You just have to crack on and make sure you offer the right food and drink. People will come.

"The community aspect emphasises to people to use the pub a bit more often."

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A lot of the pub's customers come from Whitchurch itself and Shaun explained customers from bigger towns were vital for business.

He said: "Most of my customers come in from Whitchurch and Market Drayton.

"Of course people in the village use the pub. But, we really had to reach out to people who have 10 or 15 pubs to choose from but decide to come here."

Shaun paid tribute to customers who have supported the pub over the years.

He explained: "I'd like to give a big thank you to the community in Ash Magna and the surrounding areas.

"We are trying our best to keep this going.

"Hopefully we will be in for another good year."