BOSSES at a village pub near Bordon have raised a glass to regulars after narrowly missing out on a national award.

The Hanger Freehouse has done East Hampshire proud in the ‘Rural Oscars’ having reached the South East final of Countryside Alliance Awards.

The watering hole in Oakhanger was one of five shortlisted in the Pub category having seen off scores of counterparts from across the region in a public vote.

It was given a Highly Commended certificate after finishing runner-up to the Kings Arms in Arundel but the accolade has delighted owners Fran and Clare Joyce after a tough few months.

Mrs Joyce said: “We’re absolutely delighted.

“We don’t know who nominated us, but it’s a really nice feeling to know that people who come here, drink here and who live around here are voting for you.”

The real ale pub, which also has an impressive lunch and dinner menu, has faced a “challenging year” because of SSEN work and road closures around Oakhanger, Bordon and The Worldhams.

But the owners feel their hostelry has finally turned a corner with their performance in the Rural Oscars being a major selling point and a validation of their work.

Clare added: “We had a tough end of the summer last year and we felt it again early this year, but we’re feeling better now the roadworks have stopped.

“We just want to say a big thank you because this award means a lot to the whole team when you’re recognised by your locals and regulars.”