A LOCAL landlord and landlady Andy and Terri Eccles vie for the title of “best pub turnaround” in front of some of the pub trade’s glitterati tonight.
The duo have turned the Dungeon Inn in Tottington into a thriving hub of real ale, fine wine and live music since they took over just over a year ago.
Now they are on a shortlist of three out of 370 Thwaites pubs and in line for best turnaround pub and will be keeping their fingers crossed at the awards ceremony at Cottons Hotel in Knutsford.
Mr Eccles left the motor trade and his wife quit running an estate agents’ to take over the pub which had been on its knees for a while before being empty for two-and-a-half years.
“We refurbished the pub ourselves,” said Mr Eccles. “Our aim was to give the village of Tottington its local pub back. We knew from living there what the pub was like when it was well run.
“The area was crying out for a cask ale pub for discerning drinkers.”
However, Mr Eccles admitted that after four months he wondered whether he and his wife had made a mistake.
“It took so long to pick up, we thought we might not have done the right thing,” he said.
“But in July last year, Terri was finally able to give up her job.
“The nice thing is that the local community are recognising that we are delivering a good pub.
“We’ve got good entertainment, food in the form of meat and cheese platters, and we are not relying gimmicks. We are doing what a pub should do.”
Mr and Mrs Eccles have meanwhile received a further endorsement. The Dungeon Inn, in Turton Road, is featured in the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Good Beer Guide for 2014.