CHESHIRE pubs rescued from the brink of closure are celebrating after being shortlisted for prestigious national awards.

Cheshire Cat Pubs & Inns have made it to the final with all seven of their pubs in the industry ‘Oscars’ the Publican Awards.

Owners Tim Bird and Mary McLoughlin are overjoyed to see their labour of love recognised and rewarded.

The couple operate seven pubs that have already won an array of top awards, including The Church Inn, Bulls Head and Roebuck Inn in Mobberley.

Chester and District Standard: Owners Mary McLoughlin and Tim BirdOwners Mary McLoughlin and Tim Bird (Image: Cheshire Cat Pubs & Inns)

All of the hostelries were either closed or on the verge of shutting when the couple came along and rescued them.

The challenge of restoring beautiful pubs that many would have considered to be lost causes, is their passion.

Tim said: “We are delighted to have made the final of four awards at the Industry ‘Oscars’ the Publican Awards.

Chester and District Standard: Gemma Plant, assistant manager The Mainwaring ArmsGemma Plant, assistant manager The Mainwaring Arms (Image: Cheshire Cat Pubs & Inns)

“The awards are for Best Employer, Best Drinks Act, Best Food Act and finally Best Operations Team.

“They are all for our Company Cheshire Cat Pubs and Inns encompassing all our pubs and teams.

“Mary and I are delighted that our pubs have made the finals in four awards at the Publican Awards in London.

Chester and District Standard: Connor Partridge, head chef The Fitzherbert ArmsConnor Partridge, head chef The Fitzherbert Arms (Image: Cheshire Cat Pubs & Inns)

“It is a true reflection of the fantastic efforts our teams have made consistently over the last year and the strength of our drinks and food acts across our pubs and most importantly the quality of our people too.”

The teams are up against stiff opposition from pubs across the country.

Tim said: “The judges visited us on their rounds of all seven pubs, sampling some of our delicious food and drink and chatting to the team.”

Tim had previously been managing director of 460 managed pubs with Greenalls and then managing director of Morrell’s of Oxford, Eldridge Pope and finally Brunning and Price, before setting up a business with wife and business partner Mary.

Mary was formerly managing director of La Tasca and grew the Spanish restaurant chain from three to more than 70 restaurants nationwide.

Prior to this, Mary was with both Greenalls and Devonish Pub companies, having spent her early career with Disney and Harrods.

The Church Inn, rescued from closure in 2012, is the only pub in Cheshire in the Michelin Guide.

In addition to the Mobberley pubs, the couple also own The Three Greyhounds Inn, Allostock, The Fitzherbert Arms ,Swynnerton, The Cholmondeley Arms near Malpas and The Mainwaring Arms, Whitmore.