Mark and Sarah Sear, lessees of the St Austell Brewery pub, won the national award for providing over 2,500 free meals to NHS staff and key workers.
The theme of this year’s Great British Pub Awards was pub heroes – focusing on the great things that pubs did for their communities throughout the crisis. The Golden Lion team took home an award for their initiative, which enabled key workers to access nutritious homecooked meals 24-hours a day.
Mark Sear said: “In the early days of lockdown, Sarah and I were talking about what we could do to help all of the NHS staff that were working so hard. We were conscious that supermarket items were selling out fast and were worried that they wouldn’t be able to find what they needed to cook a nutritious meal, or have time to rest and spend time with their families.
He continued: “That’s where our plan was born. We placed a bank of fridges on the pub forecourt and stocked them with a selection of nutritious meals, cooked in our pub kitchen.
“It started with a small, self-funded selection of meals - which we advertised on our Facebook page - but due to people’s incredible kindness, the initiative grew and grew. Farmers and people from across the community started to deliver homegrown ingredients for our chefs. We also set up a Go Fund Me page because of the number of people who wanted to donate to the cause. The support we received was absolutely phenomenal.”
Sarah Sear said: “A lot of nurses and paramedics used the service, but we soon opened it up to all frontline workers including carers and the police. The majority of meals were taken throughout the night, after people finished their shifts. Looking back at CCTV footage, we would see frontline staff waving and taking a bow at the camera to say thank you. It was very heart-warming.
“Winning a Great British Pub Award is just amazing. We’d like to thank our fantastic manager Belinda, our amazing chefs and everybody who donated. We enjoyed doing something as a team, to help during the pandemic, and we’d do it all again if we had to.”
Steve Worrall, Managing Director of St Austell Brewery’s Pubs, Inns & Hotels said: “I’d like to congratulate the Golden Lion team on such a brilliant achievement. Not only did they give away over 2,500 free meals to key workers, they are continuing to offer a delivery and takeaway service for those who are vulnerable and shielding. This award is thoroughly deserved – they are true pub heroes.”