Thursday, 20 May 2010

CAMRA National Club of the Year 2010

Northamptonshire club steams in to victory!

WINNER: Rushden Historical Transport Society, Station Approach, Rushden, Northamptonshire, NN10 0AW (tel- 01933 318988)

Clubs from Cheshire, East London and Surrey make top four!

An historic hidden gem situated in a converted railway station room has today been crowned as the best Club in Britain by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale.

Previously a joint CAMRA National Club of the Year winner in 2000, the Rushden Historical Transport Society’s Social Club has taken the title outright in 2010 after a panel of judges were impressed by the Club’s outstanding commitment to quality real ale. The Club is a regular in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide, with a choice of up to 7 real ales on at all times.

Back in 1986, the Society transformed a disused Ladies Waiting Room into a Victorian-themed real ale bar. Having obtained Charitable Status only two years earlier, the Club was opened to raise funds for the renovation of the old Midland Railway Station of 1894 in which it is housed. The Club soon built up a reputation for the quality and choice of its beer range and in the present day remains a haven for real ale drinkers across the UK.

Ruth Pendlington, Secretary of the Club’s Bar Committee, on hearing the results of the National competition, said:

‘We are delighted and honoured to receive this award. We know how tough the competition is out there, so to win this outright is a huge accolade. We would like to thank our Beer Manager Simon Bishop, our bar staff and the unpaid volunteers who help behind the bar and in the cellar, without whom the bar could not operate.’

In order to find the National Club of the Year for 2010, submissions were put forward by CAMRA’s 200-plus local branches across the UK, with the criteria based around the club’s commitment to real ale. This year, after some strong competition, the Rushden Historical Transport Society beat three other National finalists, which were-

-Appleton Thorn Village Hall, Appleton Thorn, Cheshire

-Leyton Orient Supporters Club, Leyton, Greater London

-United Services Club, Egham, Surrey

John Holland, Chair of CAMRA’s Clubs Committee, spoke of the high standard of this year’s entrants. He said:

‘The faultless standard of this year’s National finalists reinforces the fact there are still plenty of fantastic clubs in the UK where people can drink quality beer. The future viability of some clubs around the UK remains a concern for CAMRA’s Clubs Committee, but today it’s all about praising the success of the overall champion.

‘Rushden Historical Transport Society is revered for its quality in all areas, and is a worthy winner of this National accolade. Bearing in mind the station itself was once threatened with demolition, it’s great to see the Club has gone from strength to strength, as its historic decor and great commitment to quality real ale make it a truly unique place to try Britain’s national drink!’

Julian Tubbs, CAMRA’s Regional Director for the East Midlands, concluded by reiterating the importance of the Club to the local community. He said:

‘The Club is a real attraction for both the discerning beer drinker and beer novice alike, but despite its special appeal to railway enthusiasts, it’s a valued community outlet, where people of all ages and backgrounds can meet for a drink. The Club truly deserves the title as Best Club in Britain, and I hope its success brings further publicity to this historic site.’