Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert visited The Crown Inn at Dial Post last month (12 May) to congratulate the owners on winning the Countryside Alliance award for Best Pub in the South East of England.
Mr Herbert met James and Penny Middleton-Burn at their award-winning pub to hear more about their ‘Rural Oscar’. The pair have been running the pub and restaurant for the last 12 years. Penny’s grandparents, Jack and Bunny, owned and ran the pub in 1960s and 1970s.
The Crown Inn was one of 11,000 businesses nominated in the annual Countryside Alliance awards. Now in its 13th year, the awards celebrate rural businesses in the categories of Best Local Food & Drink, Best Village Shop, Best Butcher and Best Rural Enterprise.
As winners in their category, James and Penny attended a special awards evening at the House of Lords. Their award recognises the use of local produce which is sourced from nearby farms and businesses. A nose-to-tail approach is adopted in the kitchen to ensure nothing is wasted.
There is no shop or church in Dial Post, so James and Penny have created a village hub with the broadest appeal. Their pub is used for committee meetings and club gatherings, as well as bringing the community together through regular special events.
James and Penny said: “We were delighted that our local MP Nick Herbert came to visit us following our Countryside Alliance award for Best Pub in the South East.”
Penny added: “As fourth generation of a Dial Post farming family, I have first-hand experience of life in a rural community, and the award feels particularly personal having lived here most of my life. It is great that Nick is on board in helping to promote country life and rural businesses.”
Mr Herbert said: “It was a pleasure to meet Penny and James and to congratulate them on their award. It was good to see that they are championing South Downs produce on their menu, and I enjoyed a delicious lunch.
“I am very pleased to have two Countryside Alliance award winners in my constituency, the other being The Amberley Village Stores.”