Craft Union Pub Company has celebrated the outstanding contribution its operators make in their communities across the UK at the eagerly-anticipated annual operator awards in Blackpool.

Over 600 people came together at the show stopping event, now into its fourth year, with some 200 pubs awarded a combined £100,000 in prize money whilst a further £15,000 was donated to charity.

The celebration included a German Bierkeller-themed daytime meet and greet which resulted in another £1,400 being raised by the operators for charity, followed by a Greatest Showman-inspired awards evening.

The Claughton Hotel, Birkenhead, took home the top prize of Pub of the Year winning £2,000 and a holiday to Las Vegas; and The Boundary, Norwich, won the coveted Community Pub of the Year Award, scooping a trip to Rome and £5,000 to support local charities.

The Community Pub of the Year category is a special award that celebrates a pub which best demonstrates the company’s core values around supporting their local community. Judges praised The Boundary for its exemplary work, including Christmas food donations, regular events for local deaf people, a Monday Club for lonely people and a number of other fundraising initiatives.

The winners were chosen after a rigorous judging process that saw Regional Managers nominate pubs based on financial performance and community initiatives. This list was then whittled down to a shortlist of 20, before the overall winner was chosen.

In addition, Craft Union announced 20 winners from its ‘Love Your Local’ campaign, who all received a donation to support a local charity. The initiative, which ran throughout February, asked customers to nominate the pub they love by writing a ‘love letter’, which were submitted via post boxes across the estate. In total, over 5,000 letters were received and judged.

Frazer Grimbleby, Operations Director, Craft Union Pub Company, said: “We’re a fast-growing business that I’m immensely proud to be a part of. These awards give us the opportunity to take a step back and celebrate the outstanding operators and personalities we have across our estate.

“Pubs supporting the communities they serve is a deep-rooted value of ours, and it was fantastic to be able to recognise and reward the achievement of our operators who truly live and breathe our values day in, day out and consistently go above and beyond to make a difference.

“Due to the high calibre of entries, the judging process was incredibly challenging. It really is amazing what can be achieved when you have a union of people all with the same focus and motivation of creating pubs at the heart of communities and I’m very much looking forward to taking this momentum into the year ahead.”

Jonathon Childs, operator at The Boundary, added: “It is a true honour to win the Community Pub of the Year. Craft Union is all about making pubs the backbone of communities, and the support and freedom they’ve given us to help local people and worthy causes has been nothing short of amazing. Spending the day with fellow operators from across the country who are all pushing towards the same goals was incredibly inspiring and enjoyable, and we can’t wait for next year already.”