An independent coaching inn operator, which owns The Golden Lion Hotel, in St Ives, has scooped two awards at a recent national ceremony.

The Coaching Inn Group took home awards for Best Accommodation Operator and Best Pub Employer at the Publican Awards on March 14, held at Battersea Evolution, in London.

Kevin Charity, The Coaching Inn Group chief executive, said: “We operate in an incredibly competitive arena, so we're absolutely delighted to win two awards.

“The accolades are a real reflection of the work we've been doing in recent years in investing in our teams, as well as restoring our coaching inns to their former glory.”

This year presented by Jonathan Ross, the Publican Awards recognise the pub company sector, and has been highlighting the work of companies across the UK for the past 26 years.

Mr Charity added: “This recognition couldn't have been achieved without the unparalleled hard work and dedication to service excellence from our teams.”

The Coaching Inn Group prides itself on taking up underperforming, historic coaching inns and transforming them into profitable businesses, with 13 now on its books.

Showing no signs of slowing down though, the company hopes to increase its portfolio to 25 within the next two years, thanks a planned £50 million expansion programme.

A new coaching inn has already been ticked off the list this year with another two planned for spring.

A further £10 million has also been injected into the programme from the Business Growth Fund (BGF), following an initial sum of £4.5 million in 2015 which helped the group purchase and operate an additional six properties.

Mr Charity said: “Having set a target of doubling the estate in five years, we've almost hit that target in less than two years. This latest investment from BGF is testament to the strength of our business model and we've now set even more ambitious growth targets.

“The investment from BGF means that we are on track to achieve our growth plan without financial distractions or cash flow restrictions.

“We now have a tried and tested formula and ultimately our goal is to acquire the right properties in the best locations, and sensitively restore them in line with the character of their local surroundings.”