Husband and wife team Helen and Simon Curtis are toasting success after their pub The Jolly Huntsman at Kington St Michael, near Chippenham, was named the Gazette and Herald pub of the year for 2013.
Mrs Curtis said: “It is a fantastic start to the year. It is lovely to know that people like what we do and have voted for us. All of our team works very hard but something like this makes it all worthwhile.”
The freehouse prides itself on being at the centre of the community and creating a warm welcome for people who come from outside the area.
Mrs Curtis said: “We have fantastic local support and this creates a really good atmosphere in the bar. People who aren’t local who come in often find they quickly become part of a conversation.”
The couple regularly work 18 hours a day but allow themselves two evenings a week off. Mrs Curtis said: “We work seven days a week but we really love what we do. It is more than just a job, for us it is a way of life.”
The pub stocks a large variety of real ales and likes to support local micro breweries. It is well known for its good food and also has a bed and breakfast business.
Mrs Curtis gets up at 6.30am every day to prepare breakfast and it is rare for her to be in bed before 1am.
Mr Curtis, 37, has two children Jack, 13, and Ela, 11, who stay every other weekend and are happy to fit in with pub life. The couple met when Mrs Curtis, 43, was a barmaid at The Jolly Huntsman and her husband was a regular. When the pub came on the market about ten years ago they bought it and have been building its success ever since.