Pub of the Year stripped of award after Nazi memorabilia complaint | UK | News

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Pub of the Year stripped of award after Nazi memorabilia complaint | UK | News

A pub in Cornwall that won a big award for being the best has had to give it back because it displayed Nazi memorabilia. The Hole in the Wall in Bodmin was picked as the top pub by CAMRA Kernow, and people liked its special look.

The cosy pub is full of interesting things like a stuffed lion, old guns, and a picture of Winston Churchill. But the pub’s boss, Steve Hall, got into trouble when someone didn’t like seeing « a swastika armband » there.

The people at CAMRA took the award away from the Hole in the Wall right away. Now Steve has said that the whole episode was misunderstood.

Steve shared: « This is really upsetting. I’m upset and annoyed about this and so are my staff. It has really tarnished my image when that piece of military memorabilia has been in the pub since it opened 80 years ago. There are a lot of curios in the pub. There’s a lot of stuff on display.

« The item is no longer on display. I took the decision to remove it as soon as this complaint was shared with us. I’m not even sure that person who complained ever set foot in the pub. He must have seen it online. »

According to Cornwall Live, Steve and his team were going to have a party this weekend to celebrate the award with the CAMRA Kernow folks, but now they might not.

He mentioned it was quite funny that the Hole in the Wall lost its Pub of the Year title, even though it had won it twice in the past 15 years and the controversial item had been there all along.

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He also said: « It’s been taken out of context completely by CAMRA at national level. It has nothing to do with CAMRA Kernow. Bodmin was a garrison town. These soldiers came back from the war with spoils of war memorabilia. It was not to hero-worship Hitler or the Nazis but to celebrate the victory over fascism and to remember their comrades who died fighting against evil. You can’t whitewash history. »

The pub owner, who has run the Hole in the Wall for 20 years and hired over 100 people, explained that the small Nazi armband had been in a glass case on a pillar in a dark corner of the pub for ages. It was among many old things and was brought back by a soldier from the Duke of Cornwall’s Regiment.

« It’s not my memorabilia. It belongs to the pub. It’s been here for longer than I have. If I had put it there myself, Camra’s decision would be justified. But this has not been seen in context. It’s sad for Bodmin. We have a lovely town with a lot of good stuff happening here. But it has gone through some dark times in the last year. To win Pub of the Year would have been a bit of good news, not just for us, but for the whole town. »

The complaint which led to the pub losing its title came from Truro resident Colin Curless who emailed CornwallLive saying: « I have seen your article on the Hole in the Wall pub getting best in the county, what hypocrisy. Not just a stuffed lion on show. I actually spoke with the staff and they have a swastika armband on show in the pub. I have informed CAMRA as having a swastika armband on show in your pub is not a good advert for Cornwall, let alone a stuffed lion. »

CAMRA Kernow said the decision to take away the title from the Hole in the Wall had been taken by the national organisation but added that while it would not be able to celebrate the title with Steve and his staff it would still hold a branch social on Saturday (March 30).

A spokesperson for CAMRA Kernow said: « CAMRA’s National Campaigns and Communications Committee has taken the decision to withdraw the Cornwall Branch Pub of the Year award for 2024 to the Hole in the Wall. In the light of this, there will now be no Cornwall Pub of the Year Award made for 2024. »

« This follows a complaint relating to an item on display. The item has now been removed by the pub owner, but it did contravene nationally agreed CAMRA policies. »

« On this occasion, CAMRA volunteers did not spot the item at the point of judging. However, national policy states no pub or club should be considered for an award if it displays signs or objects that could be offensive to consumers due to their discriminatory nature. »

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