STAFF are raising a glass at one of York's smallest pubs, after it won an award from local beer enthusiasts.

The Blue Bell in Fossgate was named town pub of the season by the city's branch of the Campaign for Real Ale.

Licensee John Pybus, who took over the pub 14 months ago and runs it with his brother Joe, said at the presentation evening: "Joe and I are proud and honoured to receive this award in our first year here. Over the last year we have fallen in love with The Blue Bell and the wonderful regulars we're proud to call friends.

"During that time we have come to understand that we’re not just running a business, not just keeping a good cellar, not just serving pints and pork pies, but that we are custodians of an important piece of our country’s heritage and culture.

York Press:

"With the support of our customers and organisations such as CAMRA, we're certainly up for the challenge of guiding the pub through what looks like a nationally challenging legislative road ahead."

The York Camra branch names a town and a country pub each season, in addition to its pub of the year awards.

Four years ago, the branch had a brief dispute with the then manager of The Blue Bell over its admissions policy, leading to it being axed from the national Good Beer Guide after many years, but the relationship has since been repaired.