GLASSES will be raised in celebration at York's smallest pub tonight, as a public campaign to save The Blue Bell is successful.

A petition was launched in September to keep John Pybus as landlord of the Grade II-listed pub after it was revealed owners Punch Taverns wanted to bring in a manager rather than a landlord.

Regulars and supporters of the unique pub felt a manager would change the way the venue was run, and more than 6,500 people signed a petition at urging Punch Taverns to reconsider.

On Thursday, Mr Pybus - who has run the pub for the last three years - thanked everyone who was involved in supporting him, and said he had signed a new six-year lease.

He said: "I'm over the moon that I'm staying at The Blue Bell for another six years. The pub has been saved due to the people of York refusing to let a national corporation steal an important part of it's culture.

"I'd like to thank every one of you that signed and shared the petition from the bottom of my heart. It is now time to put all this behind us and get on with what we do best: beers and banter."

Punch Taverns have been contacted for a comment.