Sebastian O’Donnell, landlord of The Bedwardine in St John’s, has a lot to celebrate this Christmas after his business won the inaugural Worcester News Pub of the Year competition.

Hundreds of people voted for The Bedwardine, and winning the contest was especially satisfying for Sebastian because pubs are his passion, and he sees himself as "like a therapist" to many of his customers.

The 41-year-old has been been involved with running pubs since he was 18, spending several years working in Wetherspoons across the country, as well as a spell abroad as a bar manager at a hotel in Dubai, before returning to the UK to manage Coppertops in Dines Green before it was demolished.

After Coppertops closed down, Sebastian took over The Bedwardine in October last year and it is his devoted regular customers who have been the biggest help since then.

He said: “After Coppertops closed down, lots of the regulars there followed me across which is great.

"As much as I am a landlord and a barman, I’m also a kind of therapist listening to people’s problems and stories. It’s like that old phrase ‘tell the barman your problems’. It all helps to make a real family atmosphere. When people come in, they’re coming into my home and I want to make it feel welcoming to people.

He added: "The team of staff I have is only small but we are really tight.”

On winning Pub of the Year, Sebastian said: “It is great to be recognised and it clearly means we’re doing it right. Having regulars who voted for us is a great feeling, and we have even had votes from people who don’t always come in. To have The Bell Inn coming third is great for St John’s as an area as well.

“Having such great customers is why I come to work every day. If they weren’t as supportive, it wouldn’t be worth doing.

My wife Laura is a great help too with looking after the kids. If she didn’t do that, none of this would be possible