A PUB owner who lost his partner to cancer says he is honoured after the watering hole was again named the best in the area.

Martin Park owns the Station Arms in Southminster, which was named the Maldon & Dengie pub of the year by CAMRA.

Martin runs the pub on his own after losing partner Marguerite Hill to cancer two years ago, following their journey through the industry together.

He said: “We had been together for 35 years, originally both working in the café in Southend Hospital.

“When a fellow staff member left the health service and got a pub, I worked for him, and when he retired, we left the hospital and managed the Golden Lion in Rochford in the mid-80s.

“Following this we took on the Rose Inn at Southminster and were there for four years, before taking over the Station Arms in 1991

“Marguerite was a massive part of the success of this pub - a real driving force.

“I think she would have been pleased to know I continued and didn’t give up, and even more pleased that people still appreciate the pub today.”

CAMRA - the Campaign for Real Ale - represents beer drinkers and pub-goers across the UK.

The Station Arms was also ranked second overall in the CAMRA Essex Pub of the Year, an award it has won twice previously

The Station Arms has also been named East Anglian Pub of the Year in the past.

Martin added that it was great to be recognised once again and that the support from customers and regulars has been great.

He said: “It is always nice to know you are doing something right and the quality of the beer is appreciated.

“We have had the pub since 1991 and haven’t changed anything, it is still a traditional ale house.

“There is always support from regulars and it has been excellent, and they are always really pleased to see us recognised as well.”