DEDICATED landlords who sold their car and computer to keep their York inn going through lockdown have won The Press's Pub of the Week honour.

Steven and Rebecca Eccles, landlords of The Saddle Inn, Fulford, have double reason to celebrate - it was their wedding anniversary yesterday!

The couple run a traditional pub with loyal customers - some who've been coming there for more than 50 years.

They were nominated for the honour by regular Andrew Topping who said: "Before lockdown Steve and Rebecca built up the pub and got the place busy practically every night of the week. They have invested their own time and money to revamp the pub. They are an awesome couple who deserve the recognition and publicity. The Saddle has always been the best pub in the village."

Six years ago locals fought to keep the pub open under threat it could be turned into a Co-op.

This year, the Eccles had their own challenges, doing everything in their power to keep going during lockdown.

York Press:

Beer garden at The Saddle Inn, Fulford

Rebecca said: "Like everyone, we have faced some challenges while being closed for five months. We worried if we are going to open again given the amount of money the pub needed to have spent on it, and how we were going to pay the staff, the bills and the rent."

She revealed they had to make some sacrifices to see them through. "We had to sell our car and the computer my husband built and which was for his masters degree that he was due to start this year."

But with a loyal customer base, a great revamped beer garden and tasty-looking grub from their chef on the menu, The Saddle, on Main Street, looks like having a rosy future.

If you would like to nominate your local as Pub of the Week - or if you are a landlord and want to tell us what makes your pub special - click here to send us your story and photos.

Here, Steve and Rebecca tell us more about why The Saddle Inn deserves to be our Pub of the Week.

What is the best thing about this pub?

The community support! The customers, the diversity, the conversation and of course the staff! We are fortunate to have a wonderful team who have helped us become an integral part of village and community life.

What is the history of the pub?

We have a couple of locals who are part of the Fishergate, Fulford and Heslington Local History Society who have very kindly given us some wonderful pictures and biographies of two of the previous residents of the pub dating back to 1901. Both sons of the landlord William and his wife Blanche Wilson unfortunately died in the First World War.

How do you keep customers happy and coming back for more?

York Press:

We'd like to think that the customers come back for the service and what we offer the local community! We've just had an amazing response to the Northern Soul and Motown music night in our newly refurbished beer garden (while adhering to social distancing and Government guidelines) which was hosted by two locals (The Best Soulution). Our prices are competitive, our food is freshly cooked by our chef and the selection of alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks is varied.

How have you adapted to reopen during the Covid-19 crisis?

We are doing everything we can to ensure our customers and our staff feel safe while being in the pub - track and trace, table service, card payments, one-way system, hand sanitiser, regular cleaning of contact points and toilets and the wearing of face masks while serving food or drink to the tables. Also the booking of tables for drinking inside and or watching the sport in the main bar.

What is your favourite story about the pub?

We've had customers come to visit the pub who have been married 50 years who started courting in the pub.

What type of drinks do you sell and what are the best sellers?

York Press:

Food, a cosy fire and beer garden at The Saddle Inn

We like to keep the locals happy and where possible we do what we can to accommodate any drink request, a special kind of rum, or a particular flavour of gin. Our real ales that we get in we try to vary. Before lockdown we used to have three guest bitters and our house bitter on. Now we will have to start building up again we have also just installed an espresso Martini and passionfruit Martini machine in our outdoor bar in the garden which are selling really well!

Do you sell food? If so, what sort and when?

York Press:

Burger and onion rings at The Saddle Inn

Yes we do! Our chef has created a great menu, using local suppliers and cooked freshly everyday. I think his beef and chorizo burger and chicken pie are our two best sellers, closely followed by his beer battered fish and chips (using one of the guest bitters for the batter) and my favourite - the beer battered onion rings! Oh and did I mention his incredible sticky toffee pudding? We've got to hide it from Steven as there wouldn't be enough left for anyone else if we didn't!

Does your local, or your pub, deserve to be our pub of the week? Then click here to send us your story and photos.