HALTWHISTLE’S Comrades Club has been named Northumberland Club of the Year for the seventh year in a row.

The club won the award in the Campaign for Real Ale’s Tyneside and Northumberland Annual Pub and Club awards, with members of CAMRA voting in a number of categories.

The comrades club’s victory came much to the delight of new stewardess Laura Eals, who took over last January.

Laura’s aunt and uncle, Walter and Carol Eals, had run the club for almost 40 years before retiring last year, and the pressure was on Laura to keep the award-winning run going.

She explained that the success came from her sticking to a winning formula.

Laura said: “I’m so happy to keep it going. When I started last January people were saying you’re the best – win club of the year, and I said thanks guys, no pressure!

“If you come into a pub and have a bad pint, that puts you off straight away – well it does for me anyway.

“I haven’t changed anything. I wanted to keep all the members happy.

“We have an older clientele and keeping them happy is hard work.

“They all knew me already. I’m a local lass and I’ve worked here for years now.

“I’ve also been quite picky with people I’ve taken on. I’ve picked people who are quite chatty because a lot of the people who come here come alone and can be quite lonely, so the last thing they want is an unfriendly barmaid.

“It was so nerve-wracking, the first year, but the committee is happy with how it’s gone.”

Haltwhistle Comrades Club wasn’t the only victor from Tynedale in this year’s awards.

The Boathouse in Wylam, which has also had a string of successes in the awards in the past, was named South West Northumberland Pub of the Year.

CAMRA’s Tyneside and Northumberland press officer, Martin Ellis said: “The Boathouse is a great example of a traditional rural pub, hugely popular with locals.

“It also has many regulars who travel from Tyneside.”