SIX months hard labour since taking over the reins at the Grey Horse have paid off for a dedicated pub couple.

On the eve of their first beer festival since going behind the bar at the popular Consett pub, Sandra and Dave Wilkinson have been awarded a glowing accolade by the Durham branch of the real ale pressure group, Camra.

Members have judged the Sherburn Terrace hostelry as Town Pub of the Year in their 2019 awards.

Pub manager Mrs Wilkinson said news of the award came as something of a surprise.

“Since arriving in September we knew the beer festival was coming up and we’ve concentrated our efforts on making a success of that.

“But when we found out about the award it came as a shock.

“It’s nice to know what we do to enhance the pub for the regulars has been recognised.

“The customers here are great. They’re very supportive and give us excellent feedback.”

At any one time the Wilkinsons offer four real ales from the pub’s in-house brewery, the Consett Ale Works, plus, since taking over, three more hand-pulled beers.

For the festival they are offering 20 real ales, a split between local and national beers, plus five real ciders.

There is live music by local bands, pie and pea suppers to help soak up the ale, plus a charity raffle in support of local good cause Learning for Life, which will be drawn on Sunday.

The festival runs from 12-noon until 11.30pm daily until last orders on Sunday.