Landlords have thanked a village community for their support after their establishment was named Pub of the Year.

The Half Moon Inn at Melplash is a Gold winner in the Dorset Tourism Awards.

Jamie and Clare Pimbley who run the pub say it is 'wonderful' to begin 2021 with some good news following what has been an 'incredibly challenging year' for the hospitality sector.

Like other venues, the Half Moon has had to close but has continued to run its business online, offering takeaway and delivery.

The couple, who have three sons aged eight, 11 and 15, took over the Palmers' pub in March 2019. They said they had received 'incredible' support from the community – and also revealed they had received a donation from a local which has helped to keep the business going at a time of great uncertainty.

The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, lives in Melplash and has been a 'great and valued customer'.

The couple say the first lockdown gave them time to design a website which was able to process customers’ orders to give the best service.

Clare Pimbley said: “Having only just celebrated our first ‘pub’ birthday days before we had to close for the first lockdown last March. We were very concerned for our future at The Half Moon. 2020 gave us time to spend time with our three sons and support them as they began their home schooling adventure. Our second year has seen us transform our business to a pub at home format and we are so proud of our team who have worked so hard to enable this.”

The Dorset Tourism Awards celebrates the best of the best in the local tourism industry. Awards for the different categories are being announced throughout today.

Clare believes the pub won as 'we always try to showcase the best that Dorset can offer' and also because they have invested a lot of time and money in an online presence.

The website was produced by Bridport-based Penguin Army using pictures of the pub and its food from local photographers Sam Rose and Steph White.

Jamie Pimbley, who trained as a chef at The Crown Hotel in Blandford, said: “2020 has been a trying year but it has given us a chance to strengthen our ties within our local community as they have shown us incredible support. Without their support, and a generous local donor, we would have had a very different year."

The couple added: “To have been shortlisted for Pub of the Year was amazing, to win the Gold award is just beyond what we could have hoped for. We will proudly be displaying our award in the pub to show off to our regulars when the restrictions lift and they can be welcomed back into the pub."

Situated between Beaminster and Bridport, The Half Moon’s current opening hours (delivery and takeaway only) are Friday and Saturday 5pm-9pm and Sunday 12pm-2.30pm for delivery and takeaway only.