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Eastcombe publicans, Jonathan and Sarah Armstrong, have become one of a handful of publicans from throughout the country to make it through to the finals of a prestigious award scheme.

The couple, who took over at the Lamb Inn during February last year, have beaten off stiff competition to make it through to the finals of the Great British Pub Awards in the Best Newcomer category.

Jonathan and Sarah successfully made it through to the final along with just four other pubs after two rounds of vigorous judging. The pub will now be personally inspected by judges before the winner is announced on Thursday 7 September during a ceremony at the London Hilton on Park Lane.

Jonathan said: “We are thrilled to have got this far and are looking forward to showing the judges what makes the Lamb Inn so special.

“Over the last 18 months we have been able to significantly grow the business by putting the local community at the heart of the pub and I would like to thank all of our loyal customers for their continued support.”

Judges were impressed by Jonathan and Sarah’s innovative approach to pub management including running a lending library from the Lamb and introducing a scheme that rewards drivers, who leave their car at the pub after having a drink, with free vouchers.

The Lamb Inn also sponsors and supports two cricket and darts teams, holds weekly events – such as live music, village evenings and food offers – and an annual Christmas fayre.

Partnership Development Manager for Punch, Stuart Taylor, said: “The Great British Pub Awards is well known for having one of the most rigorous judging processes in the pub sector. Only the very best bars and pubs in the country get through to the final and I congratulate Jonathan, Sarah and their team on this great achievement.”

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