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Pub-goer returns as landlord to win Newcomer of the Year award

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Phil Hoyle with his fiance Sarah outside the London tavern in Ringwood
Phil Hoyle with his fiance Sarah outside the London tavern in Ringwood

A MAN who first began drinking at his Ringwood pub when he was a teenager has won it a top company accolade as its landlord.

Phil Hoyle, who runs London Tavern on Linford Road, Poulner, with his fiancée Sarah Williams, took the Newcomer of the Year title at the Ei Group Awards.

Formerly Enterprise Inns, Ei Group is largest portfolio manager of pubs in the UK, with over 4,400 properties.

Phil said: “It was tremendous just to be nominated, but to win the title makes all the hard work worth it.

“My fiancée Sarah, the staff and all our regulars new and old have contributed to the success.

Phil (45) first got to know the Tavern as a teenager, before returning last year to run the pub after years of working in other industries.

He said: “I bought it because of the great history and I think it’s a good community pub. My dad was a policeman in Ringwood and would frequent the Tavern so there’s a nice family link.”

Since their takeover, the hostelry has enjoyed great success in putting on live music, producing great food, bingo, quizzes and a number of other events throughout the week.

Ei Group chief executive Simon Townsend said: “It’s widely reported that the first year of running a business is, for many, the most challenging, but those first few months can also be the most rewarding.

"I think Phil has made a huge success of the London Tavern, and we’re sure he and his team will continue to bring his vision to life as they keep up the great work.”

The Tavern - which opened in the 1860s - was nominated alongside pubs in Norwich and Harrogate, with visits to each carried out by industry expert Phil Dixon.

Finalists for all 16 awards were invited to the gala event at the Old Thorns Hotel in Liphook, Hampshire.

Although there are over 10 pubs in the Ringwood area Phil is confident the Tavern will continue to thrive.

He said: “We are not resting on our laurels. We have plenty of things planned for the future.”

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