The Sir Walter Raleigh pub in East Budleigh has been awarded an AA rosette for culinary excellence.

The one-rosette award recognises restaurants that 'achieve standards that stand out in their local area, featuring food prepared with care, understanding and skill, and good quality ingredients'. 

The team at the pub said receiving the accolade is 'a huge achievement, not to be under-estimated'.

They said: "We are honoured and spurred on to aim higher and achieve even greater culinary excellence for all of our wonderful customers.

"Thank you to @aa hospitality for the recognition of our hard work thus far."

Exmouth Journal: The AA rosette award at the Sir Walter Raleigh pub, East Budleigh

The Sir Walter Raleigh is a community-owned pub. In 2021 the previous owner decided to sell up and offered local residents the chance to buy it. A steering group was set up to explore the possibilities and take the project forward.

A total of between £400,000 and £440,000 was needed to buy and refurbish the building, and the group planned to raise at least half the cost by selling shares in the property to local residents.

There was huge enthusiasm for the initiative. A questionnaire circulated around the village received more than 200 responses, with 150 people saying they would buy shares and/or volunteer to help run the pub. A total of 91 people offered their services free of charge, either to carry out minor repairs and maintenance work or to work in the pub once it reopened. There was also interest and support from people outside the village.

Exmouth Journal: Chairman Mark Duffelen, Clare James, Mark Rice, Mike Pulley and Judith Venning behind the bar of the community-owned Sir Walter Raleigh pub

 The share pledges received, along with a commercial loan, enabled the Sir Walter Raleigh Community Benefit Society to purchase the property in March 2022. After a few essential refurbishments, it opened a few weeks later.

The pub is run by a team of paid staff and volunteers, for the benefit of everyone who lives or works in East Budleigh or visits the village. There are regular community events including live music evenings and weekly 'bring your pizza to the pub' events. The pub is hosting a community New Year's Eve party and a New Year's Day lunch.