A HEREFORD pub is celebrating after an unexpected award win.

The Volunteer Inn in Harold Street, Hereford, has been crowned as the Herefordshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) pub of the season for spring 2024.

Dean Tortalino, who has run the pub with his wife Suzie for almost six months, said he believes that the friendly service, high-quality beer, welcoming atmosphere and general persona of the Volunteer is what charmed the local CAMRA representatives into bestowing the honour.

Mr Tortalino has been a publican for most of his life, but this is the first pub he has run in the county, having previously worked primarily in Shropshire.


He said that when he first came to the Volunteer it was boarded up and had been the victim of some minor vandalism while it had been closed for three months after being leased to an independent operator to run as their own business.

Despite outward appearances he thought that the pub was a ‘diamond in the rough’, being an old-fashioned back street pub rich with history and beloved by locals.

During their time in the pub, he said the couple has managed to resurrect the Volunteer’s community feel and the pair are now thoroughly enjoying being based in the county.

In regard to the award, Mr Tortalino said: “It's really nice, we’re quite surprised.

“We weren’t expecting it.

“We’ve been trying to bring the pub back to its former glory so it’s a nice recognition of the work we’re putting in.”