The landlords of a Wiltshire pub have celebrated their 25th year in charge by being named Swindon and North Wiltshire Pub of the Year.

Simon and Becci Cole have run The Five Bells in Royal Wootton Bassett since 1998, winning multiple awards from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) during that time.

Now the pair have celebrated a quarter of a century at the pub in style, after CAMRA named them "best pub in the Swindon and North Wiltshire area" for the fourth time.

Mr Cole told this paper he was proud their hard work had been recognised.

He said: “It’s great and we’re really chuffed because it’s definitely good to win.

“The customers like it too because they know they’re going to get what they expect.

“I take great pride in the beer and my wife takes great pride in the food, we just try to do everything well, but you can’t be anywhere for 25 years without the support of customers.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The Five Bells

“I’m just very grateful to them because they are the lifeblood of the pub.”

Over the last two decades the Coles have transformed the pub to emphasise its traditional feel.

This has involved exposing beams and brickwork, while the authentic fireplace offers customers some warmth in winter.

But more importantly, Mr Cole says they have been determined to create a friendly atmosphere that puts the venue at the heart of the community.

He added: “I grew up on the same road as the pub and it’s a great community. I love it, the customers and neighbours are great, so it’s been a lovely place to work.

“We try to be very friendly and create a relaxed atmosphere, in other words, the sort of pub I would want to go in.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The Five Bells

“The pub is very busy but it feels comfy, most people know each other and that’s vitally important.

“More and more pubs are closing but we don’t want to see that, because where else can you go to meet your friends? They’re the lifeblood of the community.”

The Coles recently took complete control of the beers they serve from their seven handpumps by becoming a free house in 2022.

Mr Cole says the “freedom” they gained from this decision, along with his introduction of real ales into the pub, has allowed them to flourish.

As well as four CAMRA awards, the venue was also named in the Good Beer Guide for 20 years running.

They will hold a celebratory 25th anniversary beer festival in September.