A POPULAR community pub has fired its way to the top after winning a prestigious award.

The Rifle Volunteer in Smalley Street, Burnley, has been named East Lancashire Camra’s ‘Burnley Pub of the Year’.

Landlady Kathrine Ratcliffe has been at the pub for a decade, but only introduced real ales in recent years.

She said: “I was delighted to win the award.

“It came as quite a big shock because a lot of the pubs that win this award have 10 handpulls on.

“The guys from Camra said they liked the pub and they liked the ambience.

“It is tidy and warm and everyone is friendly, both customers and staff.

“This is a family pub which makes a difference.

“With big companies you don’t know who you are dealing with.”

It is the second award Kathrine has received in three years, having been named East Lancashire Camra’s ‘most improved real ale pub’ in 2011.

She said: “I have only been involved with Camra for a couple of years and we did not have cask ales when we opened, but now we have three on.

“Now, you have to have good ales available and we always have a local beer on.

“We are spoilt for choice in Burnley with Reedley Hallows, Worsthorne and all the rest.”

The traditional local pub has been in existence since 1868, and is thought to have been renamed in 1890 because the landlord at the time was a rifle volunteer.

Lancashire Telegraph pubs reviewer Mark Briggs said the award was richly deserved.

He said: “It is something of a back street boozer that sells good quality locally-sourced beers.

“When they took it over it was pretty well run down but they have really turned it around and it deserves the award.

“It is a great little down-to-earth boozer and their beer is always in excellent condition.”