Punch Taverns has celebrated success of 20 of its leading tenants at its Regional Partner of the Year Awards ceremony.

Andrew Stephens from the Closed Shop, Walkley near Sheffield beat off competition from over 360 operators to win the overall Partner of the Year Award. He was recognised for transforming a challenging pub into a flagship real ale and cider destination with its own microbrewery and deserved local reputation.

Finalists were nominated by Punch’s partnership development managers, with regional director Steve Burns selecting the winners, who were presented with a certificate and trophy. Categories included the Special Recognition and Area Winner Awards together with a New Business Award for the North and South and a Mystery Shopper Award.

Burns said: “We believe in a genuine partnership approach to business and work with some extremely talented operators. It’s great to have an opportunity to recognise this talent and showcase the fantastic calibre of partners that run our pubs.

“The Closed Shop is worthy of the overall title, having brought the pub back to its former glory just two years after a £250,000 joint investment. The passion of Andrew and his team in delivering first class food, drink and entertainment with a smile is a winning formula.”

The New Business Award winners for the North and South went to operators just 12 months on from a Punch investment. Graham Usher and Martin Firth from the Drovers Arms, Selby picked up the Northern accolade.

Helen Mason from the Three Cottages, Chesterfield was the Southern winner for transforming their family run historic local into a destination pub.

Danny Grayson from Champs Sports Bar & Grill, Sheffield received the Mystery Shopper Award after receiving 100% scores over nine visits.

“The breadth of experience and consistent performance of our partners was great to see. They are really committed to their pubs and customers and are deserving of the recognition. Congratulations to them all,” added Burns.