A DARLINGTON pub has reached the final of a community award to recognise the work done by pubs since the first Covid-19 lockdown.

The Mowden in Darlington is one of just ten pubs across the country to reach the finals of the Community Pub Hero Awards.

The competition was created to recognise pubs who have gone above and beyond to support their local communities despite the uncertainty the industry faced.

When The Mowden closed in March 2020, licensees, Simon and Rachel Leadbetter offered to turn their surplus food stock into meals for local vulnerable people.

Over the next ten weeks Simon and Rachel, with a team of helpers, worked six days a week to deliver 900 meals to the elderly and vulnerable.

Mr Leadbetter said: "It was a difficult time for business, but helping others in our community really helped us and gave us a focus in such strange times."

Des O'Flanagan, PubAid co-founder, said: "Our heartfelt congratulations go to the Mowden. Landlords and landladies and their teams have offered invaluable support for communities during the pandemic, whether offering vital supplies for residents, cooking hot meals for the elderly or countering social isolation through online quizzes or chats.

"Choosing the 10 finalists was a real challenge for the judges, as every pub who entered had a strong story to tell. Those who have reached the shortlist should be very proud of their achievement.”