TWO couples who took over a village pub threatened with closure and transformed its fortunes have been presented with the Parliamentary Pub of the Year Award for the North-East.

Dave and Joanne Irwing, along with Steve and Sharron Marley, of The Stapylton Arms in Hawthorn Village, near Easington, County Durham, travelled to the House of Commons for the ceremony.

The competition, launched by the chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Pub Group, Toby Perkins, seeks to recognise the important role pubs play in British life and the value they add to the local communities and local economy.

Mr Perkins said: “The presentations took place on a momentous night for Parliament and it was a memorable night for all our finalists. The quality of the entries was outstanding and we have a very worth regional winner in The Staplyton Arms.

“Pubs play a crucial and much-loved role in our daily life and the enthusiasm that MPs have shown in promoting the claim of their locals to this title shows the pride that our communities take in our pubs.”

The National winner was named as the Four Elms, Cardiff.