THE House of Commons is raising a glass to a Bury pub after recognising the vital role it plays in community life.

The Victoria in Hall Street, Walshaw, has started 2019 as a regional runner-up and national finalist in the inaugural Parliamentary Pub of the Year awards.

The pub was pipped to the regional winner post by Kass 22 in Weaver Vale but the judges felt the entry was so strong it had to be be put through to the national final.

When owners Richard and Lisa Moore took over in March 2017, they said their vision was for the pub to be at the heart of the community, and have worked hard since then to ensure this aim was fulfilled.

Mr Moore, managing director, said: "We are really excited. We are going to the awards ceremony at the House of Commons in London on Tuesday.

"To be rewarded in this way really gives us the confidence going into this year that we can take this to the next level — we can grow the business further, and importantly, continue to grow our involvement within the community."

The pub has been selected as one of just 14 finalists after more than 100 nominations were made by MPs across the country.

Last year, more than 150 residents responded to Bury North MP James Frith's invitation to take part in a poll of their favourite boozer in Bury.

In August, Mr Frith announced The Victoria was his official nomination for the awards.

He said: “I enjoyed asking the people of Bury, Tottington and Ramsbottom to nominate their favourite pubs with dozens of local people participating. Lots of our brilliant boozers were nominated and received loads of support, with the Victoria Walshaw coming top this time.

"I’m delighted that one of our local pubs has been recognised as the regional runner-up for Parliamentary Pub of the Year and look forward to welcoming landlords Richard and Lisa to Parliament next week to celebrate their achievement."

Following nomination by their MP, each pub had to submit a short video portraying the character of the pub and their engagement with their customers and local community.

The Victoria's submission features before and after photos of the site's £115,000 refurbishment as well as images of the food it serves. It only scratches the surface of some of the community-focused events it has hosted and organised, including craft and book clubs, free breakfasts and supporting nearby Christ Church Walshaw.

Mr Moore said: "When we took over in March 2017, our main focus was to provide a community hub in the village of Walshaw. We formed a business plan that involved people — from working with the church and our staff to having a volunteer community champion and hosting monthly music matinees for the isolated and lonely."

The Parliamentary Pub of the Year awards were launched by Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Pub Group, Toby Perkins MP.

He said: "We are thrilled at the quality of entries for the inaugural competition. The 14 finalists’ video entries show the diverse range of pubs out there, and I know that it will be incredibly difficult to choose the winners from these entries.

“Pubs play a crucial and much-loved role in our daily life and the enthusiasm that MPs have shown in promoting the claim of their locals to this title shows the pride that our communities take in our pubs.

“We look forward to saluting all our finalists and crowning our champion.”

The overall winner will be announced on January 15 at the House of Commons.

A full list of the finalists can be found here:

East Midlands Chesterfield Arms, Chesterfield

East Kings Arms, South West Norfolk

London Alexandra, Wimbledon

North East Stapylton Arms, Easington

North West Kash 22, Weaver Vale

Runner up: Victoria, Bury

Scotland The Brass and Granite, Kilmarnoch

Runner up: The Criterion, North East Fife

South East The Crown, Hastings

South West The Westbrook, Devizes

Wales The Four Elms, Cardiff

Runner Up Fat Boar, Wrexham

West Midlands The Robin Hood, Walsall

Yorks The Grayston Unity, Halifax