LICENSEES at a North Yorkshire pub are celebrating after they were crowned the best in the country.

Ashley and Kelly McCarthy, from Ye Old Sun Inn in Colton, near Tadcaster, were presented with the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) Licensee of the Year Award yesterday in London, following a series of judging rounds and a questioning panel.

Kelly said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to win this award which is the result of a lot of hard work.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their support and to all our loyal customers who help to make the pub the success story it is.”

BII judge John Sharratt said: “We look for people that epitomise professionalism and who develop and maintain their business in a sustainable way.

“Ashley and Kelly are quality operators with an offering appropriate to their local customers. They have successfully created a pub that locals love and also attracts people from the surrounding area.”

The BII said the won won thanks to their “overwhelming passion, a clear understanding of what their local customers want, and the welcoming, friendly atmosphere”.

The couple took over the pub in 2004 and have built up a reputation for their food and drink. They also run community events, including cookery classes.