The Gun Inn in Findon: Only Sussex runner-up wins Great British Pub of the Year at the 2022 Great British Pub Awards and Marstons Pub of the Year

Former Worthing teacher Sally Harris has taken over the part 16th century, part Victorian pub, having never pulled a pint and has added her own creative touches to the interior with several rooms and a pretty garden under walls covered with ivy.

The winners were announced at an awards ceremony in Manchester last night, hosted by comedian Russell Kane, and The Gun Inn was noted for its “decidedly quirky vibe” spanning “a calendar of events loaded with the team encouraged to come up with unusual ideas”.

The judges said: “Highlights are the pub-specific music festival and a Halloween costume contest – for the dogs. Add equally creative, freshly cooked food, Spanish and French themed nights and Ringwood beers on tap and you have a deliciously, distinctly, different pub.

Andrew Griffith, MP for Arundel & South Downs, at the Gun Inn in Findon to congratulate owner Sally Harris on being nominated for the Great British Pub Awards.

Hundreds of pubs from across Britain entered the Great British Pub Awards 2022 and were subjected to two rounds of rigorous judging by industry professionals to determine the best in the country.

Sally has been selected to attend the House of Commons in July to speak to MPs about running a pub in the current climate.

She said: “Over the past year the pub has really been catered for, with amazing food, friendly staff and our efforts to keep everyone’s spirits up during lockdown via positivity. We’ve also created the New Day Coffee Club, a Covid-friendly takeaway cafe focused on mental health.

“We’ve worked hard for 10 years to keep our offering fresh for our customers, whether it’s events, food, or just being part of the community. It’s a great recognition.”

Marston’s tenant partner Sally Harris with her team at the Gun Inn in Findon

Over the summer, The Gun was named Best Overall Pub of the Year 2022 and Best Entertainment Pub at Marston’s 2022 Pub of the Year Awards.

Sally, a tenant partner, said at the time: “It’s amazing to win. I’m really proud of the whole team here, we’ve worked so hard, and it’s great to have that work recognized by Marston’s. We were up against our peer group across the country, I know some exceptional pubs, which makes it even more special.

As a result, she took part in a networking event in Westminster, where she aimed to help MPs understand the issues affecting pubs, with a view to bringing about change.

Sally explained: “We had such good support when it was lockdown, but now we’re emerging, all the prices are going up and you don’t want to pass it all on to customers by raising your prices. I’ve been here for 12 years and my electricity bill has doubled. If this continues, I will not be able to support the business.

Previously, Sally taught art at Worthing High School and lived across the road. Her ex-husband Lewis ran Pestle & Mortar in Portland Road, Worthing, and when he sold the business in 2010 they were looking for a new business with accommodation.

Sally said The Gun was ideal because it had somewhere to stay for their four young children. Lewis became head chef and Sally handled the front desk.

She said: “I had never even had a pint before, having been a teacher at a local school. Over the past 12 years we have seen so many changes including my children growing up, a pandemic and becoming a mother bachelor of four running a business – I would say alone but I have a fantastic team.”

Sally is proud of all she has accomplished and wants to encourage others in these difficult times.

She said: “I’m a small local business owner who is doing well in the industry despite the obstacles. It’s all about surviving and surviving. It’s tough right now, but we’ve received such great support. support from people.

“Things have completely changed. The Friday night crowds don’t come so much but we do a lot more food now and Airbnb’s success in the area is attracting new customers including international visitors. Coming to Findon means is a bit like going to the countryside.

Arundel & South Downs MP Andrew Griffith visited The Gun Inn on Friday to congratulate the team on reaching the final and Sally showed him around the pub.

Andrew said: “I am so happy for Sally and ‘Team Gun’. They should be immensely proud of what they have achieved in these grand national awards. What an award – Best Pub! The Gun Inn is a wonderful rural pub with character, charm and great food and I hope this award will encourage visitors from near and far to try it for themselves.

“I provided practical support to the pub industry by producing a South Downs Pub Guide booklet and website to showcase the many excellent establishments in the area, and The Gun Inn was one of the pubs included .”

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