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The Robert Pocock, Gravesend, Echo pub, Gravesend and Fighting Cocks, Horton Kirby, celebrate success

Good beer, good flowers and good for families – three pubs have scooped awards for being among the best boozers in Britain.

The Robert Pocock in Windmill Street, Gravesend, is listed in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2015 for the quality of its real ale.

Branch members of CAMRA chose the Wetherspoon pub after regular visits to check on the quality on offer.

They also took into account customer service, décor and overall atmosphere.

Charlie Deadman, Rob Harris and Joanne Ferris at the Robert Pocock.
Charlie Deadman, Rob Harris and Joanne Ferris at the Robert Pocock.

A CAMRA spokesman said: “The Robert Pocock deserves its place in the Good Beer Guide. It is our belief that if a licensee serves an excellent pint of real ale, then everything else in the pub, including customer service, quality of food and atmosphere, are likely to be of an equally high standard.”

Pub manager Amy Kortegas, who handed over the reins to a new manager on Tuesday, said: “I am delighted that The Robert Pocock has been recognised for the quality of its real ales by CAMRA members.

“We offer our customers an excellent range of real ales at all times, including those from regional brewers and microbrewers, as well as hosting our own beer festivals.

“Staff at the pub work hard to ensure that the real ales on offer are kept in first-class condition at all times and the pub’s inclusion in the guide highlights this.”

Meanwhile, the Echo Pub in Old Road East, Gravesend, is blooming under new management after being recognised in the Pubs In Bloom Awards by Enterprise Inns.

Sadie Dadswell and Trudy Merrison at The Echo
Sadie Dadswell and Trudy Merrison at The Echo

The pub has seen refurbishment since the new management team headed by Trudy Merrison took over earlier this year.

A major part is the new garden, with a freshly installed play area including a large furnished playhouse, soft play equipment and a secure environment.

Added to this is a new artificial lawn with seating, surrounded by all-weather decking with several planters adding colour.

Trudy said: “We’re delighted to be recognised for our work so far, but there is so much more we are doing.

“From entertainment – including some of the best bands and singers in the region – to themed events; such as our forthcoming prestige vodka evenings that offer the chance to taste some of the most remarkable and famous vodkas in the world from our huge selection.”

Finally, the Fighting Cocks in The Street, Horton Kirby, has been named Best Family Pub national champion at the Great British Pub Awards.

Staff at the Fighting Cocks
Staff at the Fighting Cocks

The awards are organised by leading pub industry magazine the Publican’s Morning Advertiser.

The winners received their award from Sky Sports F1 presenter Natalie Pinkham at a sports-themed ceremony at London’s Hilton Hotel.

The pub is run by Chris and Vanessa Maskery and was also named joint winner of the Best Family Pub for the London & the south east region.

The 90 finalists were shortlisted from hundreds of pubs.

Judges praised how the couple, who have been at the pub for six years, have transformed a traditional village local with a basic offer into a destination pub with a reputation for offering something for the family.

In their time in charge, the Maskerys have introduced a play area and animal enclosure encircling tables in the beer garden, meaning parents can enjoy a drink and food while watching the children play.

Rob Willock, editor of the Publican’s Morning Advertiser, said: “Chris, Vanessa, and their team at the Fighting Cocks thoroughly deserve the title of Best Family Pub 2014.

“The judges were really impressed with the children’s facilities in the pub’s extensive garden, which include large play areas and an ice cream counter.”

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