Union Jack at Roydon, near King’s Lynn, named West Norfolk CAMRA pub of the year

There's double cause for celebration at the Union Jack in Roydon this weekend after it was named West Norfolk CAMRA pub of the year - for the second time.

Landlord Trevor Barlow will also raise a glass to his tenth anniversary at the small but perfectly formed pub tomorrow (Saturday).

The traditional watering hole was his local for many years until - tired of trekking down there of an evening - he bought it exactly ten years ago.

Trevor, a former gangmaster, soon changed its name back to the patriotic Union Jack and introduced more real ales behind the bar, but little else has changed over the last decade.

The pub has not gone down the usual route of offering meals and is sticking to its roots by relying on its 'wet sales'.


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'Why change something if it works? It's a traditional pub and that's how we want to keep it,' Trevor, 48, said. 'We've got to be one of the last in Norfolk that doesn't serve food.

'We are having a new beer garden put in but we have no other plans - we don't want to change its character. We have a lot of darts, dominos and cribbage and bingo and quiz nights to keep people coming in.

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'There were a couple of real ales when I started and its up to four now - there's no room for more!'

Trevor's wife Mandy, 43, started at the pub in about 2007 after working at King's Lynn Magistrates' Court for more than 20 years and has spent time delving into the pub's rich heritage.

'This place has an amazing history,' she said. 'There's still more I want to look into.'

It became a pub in 1884 and was called the Union Jack until the mid-1990s when an Irish landlord took over.

The name was changed to the Blacksmith's Arms to fit in with the neighbouring pubs the Anvil, in Congham, and the Three Horseshoes, also in Roydon.

Trevor had the original pub sign restored so it could be re-hung when the name was changed back in 2005, meeting the approval of villagers.

'People were very pleased,' said Trevor, who was brought up in nearby Pott Row. 'It's the traditional name and people thought it should be kept.'

The pub holds annual beer festivals and is a regular entry in CAMRA's Good Beer Guide, frequently changing the four beers it has on pump to keep regulars interested.

Trevor will be celebrating his tenth anniversary at the pub, in Station Road, from 8.30pm tomorrow with live music from Bondy, before his CAMRA certificate is presented later this month.

Andrea Briers, acting chairman of West Norfolk CAMRA, said: 'Congratulations to Trevor and Mandy on winning the title. The Union Jack is an excellent example of a pub which serves its community, giving locals and visitors somewhere to meet and socialise.

'It is also a very rare example of a rural pub which relies on their wet sales.'

The Union Jack will now compete with pubs from other areas to become CAMRA Norfolk pub of the year.

Last year's winner was The Dabbling Duck at Great Massingham, which had been closed for nearly six years in its former incarnation as the Rose and Crown.

The award was presented to local farmers Dominic Symington and Steve Kilham, who had no previous experience of running pubs, in June.

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