Pub of the Year Presentations

The last weekend in May, and the first weekend in June were the occasions for two pub presentations to take place. The first presentation was for the West Kent CAMRA Pub of the Year winner, the Rose & Crown at Halstead, whilst the second was for the joint runner up in the competition, the Anchor at Sevenoaks.


Rose & Crown – Halstead

A select band of us travelled to the Rose & Crown by means of the 402 bus. We were joined there by some members from South East London CAMRA, and also by a visitor from Croydon branch. Before the certificate was presented, landlord Bob showed us his newly re-furbished games and meeting room, which is housed in the pub’s former stables. We were also impressed by the work he has done on improving the garden facilities at the rear of the pub. There is now a large covered area, with seats for barbecues, which also doubles up to stop the nicotine addicts from getting wet. Bob and his team had also laid on a tasty and extensive buffet, which we all enjoyed, but the one thing he is running out of is wall space on which to hang the pub’s numerous awards! Congratulations Bob on being a worthy Pub of the Year winner.


Pub of the Year Presentation

A week later it was the turn of the Anchor. The event was billed as one to celebrate chairman Ian Fielder’s birthday, but landlord Barry Dennis was aware that he would be receiving the pub’s runner-up certificate. What he didn’t realise was that he would also be receiving a special certificate marking his 30 years as landlord of the Anchor. This achievement makes Barry the longest serving licensee in the Sevenoaks area, and probably the whole of west Kent as well.

I think Barry was really touched with this second certificate, and what made it more poignant was the fact it was actually 30 years to the day. Congratulations on this magnificent achievement Barry. Unfortunately you are one of a fast vanishing breed, as although when you first started out in the trade it was relatively common for pubs to remain in the same hands for lengthy periods, in these fast changing times it is a real rarity to find such a long-serving licensee.


Barry with his Certificate

There was a good crowd in the Anchor that day, and it reminded me of what Sunday lunchtimes used to be like in a pub, back in the days before all day opening. Barry runs a meat raffle, which is always well-supported, and offers a selection of nibbles and tasty snacks on the bar.

Once again, congratulations to both the Rose & Crown and the Anchor. If only more pubs were like these two CAMRA’s job would be a lot easier, and the pub trade itself would be in far better shape than it is at the moment!

Paul Bailey