A PUB in Cullompton which was on the verge of closing down a year ago has been voted the best in the South West.
The Market House Inn has won the regional accolade in the Great British Pub Awards for the best pub partnership with Enterprise Inns.
Despite their success it has been a challenging five years for landlady Anita North.
She took it over when it was closed down as the previous licensee had abandoned the pub.
Just over a year ago barely any customers made their way to the bar and she was on the brink of closing it down.
Anita said: "We had four very tough years here and at The Kings Head before we agreed to the 'beacon' scheme set up by Enterprise Inns to assist some of the weaker pubs in the country.
"Many of the others on this scheme have since reverted back or been sold by Enterprise as they were just not viable and could not be saved.
"But now things have been turned round and with the help of their partnership company the Market House has begun to thrive.
She added: "It has been a very long hard five years and it's just nice to have some good come out of it."
Since February 2002 Anita and her partner John Crossley have pushed the boundaries of the pub.
"We've added things like Sky Sports and free Wi-fi. We have a weekly karaoke night and at the moment there's a darts tournament going on," she said.
"Before we made the changes we had hardly any customers and I seriously thought about packing it in. When this was suggested to me I thought I have got nothing to lose so we decided to go for it. Now we get a lot more customers."
Anita and John have now been invited to the BT Sport Great British Pub Awards 2013 held in London on Thursday, September 12, where they'll find out if they also stand the chance of being named winners of the overall category.
"It's quite exciting because it's a formal day and we also have the chance of winning the national award. Even if we don't we feel that we've done really well and I'm very proud," she said.
"The Market House is truly at the heart of the local community now and I am hoping that it will continue to grow in the future."
Anita plans to come back and put her certificate next to her award last year for being a finalist in the Devon Life Food and Drink Award.
Many of the Market House's customers posted their messages of congratulations on the pub's Facebook page when it was announced last week.
Sonia Hurst wrote "Congratulations, good for Cullompton. Good luck with national," and Legg Max added "Well done mum and a big thank you to all Market House customers who has supported mum this past year. Congratulations."
The Market House team responded with a message of thanks: "Thank you all for your lovely comments and for your support, another big thank you to the team here at The Market who are all so dedicated to the pub and it's customers."