Regulars at one of Norwich’s most famous pubs already know that the landlord is special – and the rest of the country could be about to find out, too.

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Philip Cutter, from The Murderers in Timberhill in the city centre, is one of 12 publicans from across the UK fighting to be named the best pub landlord in the country.

Mr Cutter has been a keen supporter of the Evening News’ Love your Local campaign, which aims to get people back into pubs. And he’s also the co-chairman of the Norwich City of Ale event, which is now in its third year.

It’s the first time he has entered the British Institute of Innkeeping Licensee of the Year Award, which is open to all UK licensees, provided they have been with the business three years.

He said: “It’s nice to get this far, after all there are 50,000 pubs across the country.

“The aim of the competition is to improve the standards of what we do. I like to think what we do at The Murderers goes above and beyond what most pubs do. I love the industry and I’ve been in it 26 years.

“It saddens me to see the state of the industry. Part of the thing with the City of Ale is trying to celebrate what is great about pubs, which also ties in with the Love your Local campaign. People love pubs and anything we can do to celebrate a national institution should be embraced.”

The 12 finalists will now be subject to a further round of gruelling examination.

And judges from the BII, which is the professional body for the licensed hospitality industry, will be looking to shortlist those licensees who demonstrate genuine passion, outstanding drive and the highest level of professionalism.

In the final round, the best will be scrutinised in front of a panel of nine judges before the overall winner is selected and announced at the BII annual lunch in central London on May 14.

BII chief executive Tim Hulme said: “The BII Licensee of the Year Award is the ultimate accolade in the licensed trade.

“The award not only recognises their contribution to the industry but their personal qualities and attributes as well.

“Entrants are required to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to raising standards, innovation and an in-depth understanding of the industry. Importantly, all short-listed entrants benefit significantly from the mentoring they receive during the judging process.

“This year saw an exceptionally high standard of entrant and among the highest number of applicants since the award was launched 28 years ago.”

For more information about the BII award, log on to www.bii.org/loya.

To see more stories from our campaign visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal

Turn to page 27 for City of Ale news.

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