Dunton pub scoops 2015 Rural Pub of the Year

The March Hare Freehouse in Dunton has won CAMRA Rural Pub of the Year 2015
The March Hare Freehouse in Dunton has won CAMRA Rural Pub of the Year 2015

A pub in Dunton is celebrating after winning the CAMRA Rural Pub of the Year 2015.

The March Hare Freehouse received the award on Tuesday evening for their outstanding achievements to the community in the past year including the opening of a community shop.

John and Janice Pritchett opened the pub in 2010 and are delighted to have won the award.

Jon said: “The work is enjoyable but it is hard work which involves a lot of hours.

“Winning the award is confirmation that we are doing something right and it is important for us to be involved with the community.”

For Janice, 58, running a pub is completely different to anything she has done before but she enjoys supporting her husband.

She said: “I initally wasn’t sure on the idea but I do really enjoy supporting John in the pub and it is great to get the recognition for our efforts.”

The pub has had visitors from as far away as London and is known for its sale of real ale.

John was a home brewer before moving into the pub and he won a national award in 2008 for his efforts.

During the first year of the pub being open, their daughter Kerry was integral in helping them as well as The Half Moon pub in Hitchin who helped John organise his ales.

John Goodlet, the branch chairman of East Beds CAMRA said: “Pubs are fighting back and The March Hare is fighting back in style.

“They try to come up with new ideas, they try to innovate and they try to integrate themselves into the local community.”

He also praised the opening of the community shop in the last year which stocks products from local businesses.

The March Hare hold a number of themed evenings throughout the year as well as a folk evening on the first Tuesday of every month.

They also raise money for several good causes including the Dunton Community Garden Group and will shortly be raising money for portable ventilators at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

The pub also has a huge emphasis on the community and there are no televisions or pool tables in the pub to try and encourage conversation instead.

There are exciting plans in the works as John aims to develop a microbrewery in the coming year.

Since opening the pub John has had over 1,000 real ales behind the bar for visitors to enjoy.

He said: “To be voted rural pub of the year feels like a greater accolade than being voted pub of the year in 2013.

“We hope we will continue to make The March Hare a nice comfortable place where friends and family will feel at home.”