A LEADING beer campaigner has praised a Marlow social club for exceeding the expectations of the judging panel after it was awarded a prestigious prize for its ales.

Marlow’s Royal British Legion Club has been handed the ‘Club of the Year’ award from the Aylesbury and District branch of CAMRA - the Campaign for Real Ale.

Judges were impressed at the quality of the beer on offer at the Station Approach club, which is the commercial arm of the charity for servicemen and women.

Alexander Wright, chairman of the district CAMRA group, said: "The whole attitude of the club is right - they serve good beer, they look after their beer and they’re one of the few clubs in our district to really promote real ales.

"We run a pub of the year competition as well, but the club award is for members-only clubs or those with restricted access.

"There is not a large number of clubs serving real ale in the district and it is the first time in a while we have given out this award, as they have exceeded the standards we look for.

"It is partly about the skill of keeping and serving real ale, and then promoting it to customers over and above our expectations. It’s a living product that needs to be cared for - you can’t just stick it on the bar and forget about it."

Having scooped the district award, the Legion is now up against six clubs in the region, with the winners of the regional award in July going on to compete for CAMRA’s National Club of the Year gong.

The club held a family open day on Easter Sunday, with live music and its trademark good beer for adults and Easter eggs, face painting and games for children.

Drinkers at the club helped raise £1500 for the Poppy Appeal last autumn from sales of an ale created especially for the appeal by Bucks brewery XT.

And the club committee are keen to spread the word and let the Marlow community know what is on offer at the social club.

Club president Jeremy Jones said: "It was an achievement by all concerned on the committee who have worked hard in highlighting the Royal British Legion Marlow Club as a place for family and members alike to enjoy a wide variety of ales but at club prices."