The landlords of a Colton pub are raising a pint after scooping the title of Licensee of the Year today in the prestigious British Institute of Innkeeping Awards ““ the only pub in Yorkshire to achieve the title for over 10 years.

Ye Old Sun Inn licensees Kelly and Ashley McCarthy ““ who have gained an incredible 10 national and regional awards since they took over the idyllic country pub in 2004 ““ had to complete a gruelling round of Q&As, site inspections and an “Apprentice-style” day of interviews before a panel of nine industry experts, before being selected as the outstanding candidate.

During the 25th BII annual lunch at Grosvenor House ““ and in front of an audience of publicans and industry professionals British Institute of Innkeeping’s Chief Executive Officer said: “The award is highly coveted and not taken lightly by any entrant, given the tough judging process, which is what gives the award its credibility.”

Kellyand Ashley, who have worked together in the hospitality and retail trade for more than 20 years, have made a name for themselves with their award-winning and innovative food, using seasonal local produce, as well as regular cookery demos, food workshops and community and charity nights.

“It’s a fantastic achievement to be recognized by your peers as doing a good job,” said chef Ashley, who runs the kitchens while Kelly runs front of house. “We’ve worked incredibly hard over the last nine years to get here, but it’s not just our name on the trophy, it’s our whole team and the whole of Yorkshire ““ it’s incredible to feel we’re representing such a wonderful county.”

Asked what the key to successful pub management is, Ashley added: “Hard graft and passion! We don’t sit back and let customers come to us; we are hands on and proactive within the pub and the local community. We offer consistency, and make our customers feel valued. We know our customers’ names; they’re not just a number ““ and it’s that personal touch that makes all the difference.”

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “Kelly and Ashley are a real credit to the industry – their hard work and passion shines through and they’ve done Yorkshire proud with this amazing achievement.”

“Visit their website”:http://www.yeoldsuninn.co.uk/