Award for Lancaster pub that came ‘back from dead’

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A Lancaster pub described as “coming back from the dead” has received an award for not just surviving but significantly improving.

Last month, local members of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) gathered to present their Most Improved Pub 2012 award to the Golden Ball at Snatchems on the Lune Estuary.

Lunesdale branch chairman Jenny Greenhalgh said: “This is a pub that has come back from the dead and it is impressive to see what the pub’s owner Stephen has done with it since he got it.”

In 2010, The Golden Ball was closed and put up for sale by then owners Mitchells of Lancaster and looked set to become a private house.

But there was a spirited campaign by pub regulars, led by Russell Dunkeld, to keep the pub open.

Stephen Hunt, who had previously run a nearby pub but had moved to Spain, was drawn back to Lancashire by the challenge of owning and running this historic inn.

He has spent large sums renovating the place without removing any walls or spoiling the atmosphere of the eighteenth-century interior.

There is also a new conservatory extension with all modern conveniences including wheelchair access and a stunning view across the river.

Stephen Hunt said: “We are quite isolated here, both geographically and in not belonging to a larger company and it is great to get some recognition.”

The Campaign for Real Ale is a UK-wide consumer organisation fighting for quality beer and quality pubs.

The Lunesdale branch covers north Lancashire south to Garstang and the Ingleborough area.