Three finalists for Stonegate Pub Company’s ‘Heart of the Community’ pub award have been announced at an awards ceremony held in Birmingham this week. Great Stone on Church Road and Tennis Courts on Walsall Road, both in Birmingham took two of the top three spots, alongside Old Smiddy Inn in Glasgow.

Stonegate Pub Company’s Local Pubs division launched the internal challenge to find the pub most deserving of the title ‘Heart of the Community’ pub in the Summer. Ninety-one pubs, all situated within small communities, were challenged to demonstrate their commitment to their local community. Each area held their own competition from which ten pub managers were invited to pitch to a panel of judges this week. The judges, who had the tough job of selecting the top three finalists, were Mark Dignan from sponsor Carling, Dave Shipton, Stonegate’s pricing strategist and Tim Painter, Stonegate’s HR Director.

The three finalists, Janet Ward from Great Stone, Sarah Yeomans from Tennis Courts and Kathleen Stewart from Old Smiddy Inn will have to wait until Stonegate’s Annual Awards next Tuesday 23 October, to hear which one of them is to be crowned ‘Heart of the Community Pub 2012’ by Chief Executive, Toby Smith. The general manager of the overall winning pub will be awarded with a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Las Vegas, alongside other managers who have demonstrated they are the best in the business.

Each general manager was invited to compile evidence of community clubs it operates, sporting teams it sponsors or runs, community events it has hosted and fundraising activities it has held. In addition, they were asked to highlight how their pub acts as an important community hub, using photographs and filming, customer testimonials, social media and press coverage as supporting evidence.

“The passion that all of our shortlisted managers demonstrated for their businesses and communities is nothing short of inspirational. Every one of them deserved their place in the top ten. The commitment and loyalty that these managers and their teams show to their regulars and their community is an example to their peers in the Stonegate business and our industry as a whole ”, said HR Director, Tim Painter.