The Leeds branch of CAMRA has been raising a glass to the landlady at The Fleece in Farsley after a rapid rejuvenation helped her to clinch the title for the most improved pub in the city.
Gina Howard only took over the reins at the inn on Town Street in August but quickly set to work introducing changes to the premises she wants to see “at the heart of the community”.
The kitchens were re-opened and a lunch and dinner menu re-introduced - including light lunches for pensioners and tea, coffee and cakes for mums looking for somewhere to meet.
The 49-year-old has also joined the Farsley Forum and became part of plans for the summer Farsley Festival - linked this year to the arrival in the region of the Tour de France.
But it was the pub’s commitment to re-introducing a comprehensive list of Yorkshire real ales which most impressed CAMRA.
An average of 15 to 20 barrels are now sold at The Fleece every week, with labels such as Black Sheep, Landlord and Leeds Pale leading the way.
“We sell beers from Ilkley and Saltaire too, but, as we have the history as only the second pub ever bought by Joshua Tetley, we have brought back Tetley’s Cask,” said Gina, who worked in customer services in banking for 15 years before taking on The Owl at Rodley and then moving to The Fleece last summer.
“We rotate the beers every week so we hope customers enjoy the variety.”
Gina says hard work is the key ingredient to her success, but added: “My dad always used to tell me that you should treat people how you would like to be treated yourself. I’ve always been strong on family and I hope that shows.”