A COUPLE who breathed new life into a pub have scooped the Best Turnaround gong at the Thwaites Awards for Excellence.

Andrew and Terri Eccles, landlords of the The Dungeon in Tottington, were pronounced winners at the glitzy event in Cheshire.

Backed by owners Thwaites the couple invested £30,000 into giving the historic pub — reputedly taking its name from the former Tottington jail — a sensitive makeover.

“What a surprise,” said Mr Eccles. “The standard among all of the finalists was incredibly high, so it’s awesome to have won.

“We want to thank our team and the customers who have really got behind the pub and helped make it a success.

“It’s those who should be winning the award.”

Director of pub operations for Thwaites, Andrew Buchanan, said: “We put a lot of effort into making sure that we take on the right licences for each of the pubs in our estate and invest in people who we know will take the pubs on to new heights.

“Andrew and Terri are a great example of that policy in practice.

“They’ve poured their heart and soul into making The Dungeon a success, bringing style, creativity and innovation to their customer offering.”

Mr and Mrs Eccles were presented with the prestigious accolade by Tony Walsh of Parkinson Signs, at a ceremony held at the Cottons Hotel in Knutsford. They received an engraved trophy, certificate and a VIP trip for two to Barcelona.

Now in their fourth year, the Awards for Excellence celebrate industry successes and innovation across Thwaites’ pub estate. The 10 categories, including Best Newcomer, Best Pub Dining, Best Pub Fayre, Best Customer Experience and Best Pint, are designed to recognise licensees who have shown dedication in that area of their business.