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The historic, and ironically named, Ship Inn in Shaftesbury has been named pub of the year 2019 by the Heart of Wessex branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

Chosen from around 90 pubs in the branch area, the Grade 2 listed 17th century Ship Inn was chosen ‘because of its excellent support for real ale and its focus as a community asset to Shaftesbury,’ said branch chairman Paul Smith last month.

‘You would be hard pressed to find a more traditional, local town centre pub with its pub games, its darts and pool, and active support for local charities. As always the competition was excellent but we were particularly keen on the community involvement of the pub.’

Landlord Rebecca ‘Bex’ Moody, who has played mine host at the inn for the last five years, said: ‘To be honest I was shocked at first because I didn’t know I was even being considered but obviously I’m very pleased. It’s a great accolade and reflects the fact we have the best pint in town. It’s also because we support the local community through various charities.’

Constructed in stone with several original stone mullioned windows, parts of the pub date back to the 14th century and it is reputed to be haunted. Clearly named with some irony, as it stands at the top of Tout Hill, a street as steep as the town’s more famous Gold Hill, it was previously called the Ship Hotel. No longer a hotel, the pub now goes forward to compete in the Wessex regional championship. If successful, it will then compete against the other 15 regional pubs for the title of CAMRA’s National Pub of The Year 2019.

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