Historic pub wins top beer accolade

lan Mapplebeck (centre) , chairman of the Heavy Woollen branch of CAMRA with Paul and Janet, landlord and landlady of The Shears in Hightown which has won pub of the season.
lan Mapplebeck (centre) , chairman of the Heavy Woollen branch of CAMRA with Paul and Janet, landlord and landlady of The Shears in Hightown which has won pub of the season.
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AN historic pub has celebrated the first anniversary of its re-opening by scooping the CAMRA pub of the season award.

The towels were over at the Shears in Halifax Road, Hightown, for three years, and there were real fears that the pub, which was the meeting place for the Luddites 200 years ago, would be demolished.

However local couple Andrew and Debra Mitchell were determined Spen should not lose this unique piece of history, so they bought it, refurbished it and put in Paul and Janet Black as managers, opening just before last Christmas.

Their hard work has now paid off, as real ale experts have recognised not only the quality of the beer on tap, but the ambience of the pub.

On Tuesday Ian Mapplebeck, chairman of the Heavy Woollen branch of CAMRA, visited the Shears to present the Autumn Pub of the Season award to Paul and Janet.

Branch secretary Paul Dixey said: “With so much bad news about pub closures and difficulties in the trade, the award is designed to recognise those places where the management have made a special effort to boost the popularity of the pub, and provide a sociable place for people to meet and to enjoy a decent drink of traditional ale – particularly where the pub was previously trading poorly or closed.

“The new owners and their managers have done a great job of bringing this historic pub back to life after a period of closure, when it looked like it was going to be lost forever, despite its part in the history of the Luddites who used to meet in secret upstairs.

“Beer quality is a priority and the Tetley’s, Black Sheep, Moorhouse’s Luddites Ale and rotating guest are well enjoyed by many new-found regulars, while the log fires, stained glass and refreshed decor make for a lovely atmosphere.”

Paul said they were delighted to receive the award.

“I’m not normally stuck for words but I was when I found out about it,” he joked.

“It certainly wasn’t expected, because of the short time it’s been re-opened. It’s a tribute to the staff who are excellent ambassadors, the owners who saw its potential and, of course the customers, because without them you are nothing.

“The pub was closed for three years so it was a real challenge to get it up and running again, but people have been so kind and helpful. It’s a massive achievement and we’re really looking forward to the next 12 months, which will be even more special with the Luddites 200th anniversary celebrations.”