Fox & Goose is named local rural pub of the year by CAMRA

The Fox & Goose at Coombe Bissett, near Salisbury, has been voted local Rural Pub of the Year by members of the Salisbury & South Wilts Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

It is the first time that the busy village freehouse, which sells real ales and traditional home-cooked food, has won the award.

Landlord Keith Smith also received the first-ever Derek Blackshaw Trophy, founded this year in memory of the late Derek Blackshaw, who was chairman of the local CAMRA branch. Both awards were presented to Keith by Derek’s widow Sue.

“Apparently we have been close to winning Rural Pub of the Year for a while now,” said Keith, who has run The Fox & Goose with his wife Sue for more than 20 years. “So we are very pleased and happy to have won it for the first time.”

Andrew Hesketh, the local CAMRA branch’s Pubs of the Year coordinator, said: “The Fox & Goose is not only a friendly local community pub but it also services a lot of passing custom along the nearby A354.

“It has two large bars and indoor dining areas as well as spacious gardens and an outside covered area in which to eat.Keith and Sue have been at The Fox & Goose for many years; he runs the front of house, while she is the chef.

“The real ales are kept well, the food is excellent and the pub has become a key part of village life.”
The Derek Blackshaw Trophy was founded by the Salisbury & South Wilts Branch of CAMRA this year, in memory of Derek, who died from leukaemia in 2022.

Andrew Hesketh said: “It commemorates a great man and branch chairman whose interpersonal skills were exceptional. He felt passionately about the survival of rural pubs, many of which he saw disappear in this area over the past 40 years. The trophy, which will be presented to the Rural Pub of the Year annually alongside the traditional winner’s certificate, perpetuates the memory of a thoroughly decent man.

“We are immensely grateful to his widow Sue for agreeing to present it.”

Keith Smith said: “It is particularly nice to be awarded the first-ever Derek Blackshaw Trophy. I knew Derek as he used to come here to eat with his wife Sue. He was a lovely man.”

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