THE licensees of a Darwen pub have received a special present as they celebrate their first anniversary in charge.

Matt Worden and Zoe and Martin Evans joined forces to take over The Crown in Redearth Road 12 months ago and embarked on an ambitious refurbishment project.

And after a short time, the pub has been granted Cask Marque status, rewarding the quality of its beer.

Mr Worden said the pub had previously been the first in the town to receive the prestigious accreditation but it was removed when the previous tenants moved out.

He said: “We have worked really hard since taking over and made good quality cask ale one of our priorities.”

Pub bosses are gearing up for a special celebration next month, when they will host a bank holiday beer, sausage and cider festival.

The event, from May 3 to 5, will feature a range of local and national cask ales, ciders and sausages.

There will also be activities such as face painting, live music and entertainment and a hog roast.

Mr Worden said: “We wanted to create an event that would celebrate all that is great about beer.

“It is a real opportunity to bring the community together to have a great time while giving something back to our customers.

“The timing is perfect also, as it is our one-year anniversary at the helm of the pub.

“It has been a fantastic year and we have seen a lot of new faces. A lot of the regulars have also come back. We have just got the food up and running now and it’s really taking off.”

Punch Taverns’ partnership development manager Tracy Duncan said: “This is an excellent example of a pub bringing the community together and being proactive to drive trade and get customers coming back for more.

“We wish Matt, Martin and Zoe and their team at the The Crown all the very best with the event.”