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Karen Barrett awarded Certificate of Achievement after 20 years of community service to Aldington

Published: 11/01/2022
Walnut Tree licensee Karen Barrett receives Mayor's Certificate of Achievement award in Aldington

After two decades running Shepherd Neame pub the Walnut Tree in Aldington, licensee Karen Barrett was presented with a Certificate of Achievement from the Mayor of Ashford Cllr Callum Knowles last month.

The award states ‘In recognition of 20 years of exceptional community service through the creation of a hub for local groups and activities, tireless charitable fundraising and as a selfless volunteer caring for others through cooking and provision of supplies during the Covid lockdowns of 2020’.

Cllr Knowles said: “It was an honour for me to present a Mayor’s Achievement Award to Karen Barrett for her outstanding dedication and commitment to the community by reaching out to those in need with warmth, love and compassion. Karen is an exceptional member of the community and we are proud of all she has accomplished.”

It isn’t Karen’s first honour in recognition of her community work, as she was also presented with a Heart of the Community Award at Shepherd Neame’s annual Pub Awards in 2019. The Walnut Tree is a meeting place for a host of local organisations including the Aldington Women’s Institute, men’s church group, Microlight Society, Knit and Natterers, and the local bridge club, along with supporting Aldington’s football and cricket clubs.  Karen’s charity work includes volunteering as a trustee at Kaleidoscope Childcare, hosting a quiz for the charity on the last Sunday of each month, and she is also currently running a raffle to raise £5,000 for the Fire Fighters Charity.

Mother-of-two Karen, 58, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to receive this award. We pride ourselves on being a village pub at the heart of the community, which is why we have always placed so much importance on raising funds for charity and supporting local residents and groups. Throughout the difficulties of the pandemic we have maintained a ‘glass half full’ attitude, thinking about what we can do to help others. We delivered meals to village residents, with no charge for the vulnerable, and also organised grocery supplies. For some people, we were their only point of contact during lockdown, so it was a real privilege to be able to help them.”

Walnut Tree licensee Karen Barrett receives Mayor's Certificate of Achievement award in Aldington

Built during the reign of Richard II, the Walnut Tree retains many period features, including oak beams and an inglenook fireplace. Today, the pub is known for its excellent home-cooked food, including a popular Sunday roast and its famous ‘sizzling grillstones’. This ancient cooking method involves cooking meat on hot stones on the tables, to your liking. In addition, the menu offers a range of classic British dishes, plus vegetarian options, bar snacks, a children’s menu, and daily specials.

Karen added: “This pub has been a wonderful home for my family over the past two decades; both my children, who were three and 18 months old when we arrived, have grown up here. Running the Walnut Tree isn’t a job, it’s a way of life. The bar is my front room, where I’ve watched generations of families grow up, with parents bringing in their children who have grown and now visit the pub by themselves! It is wonderful to be recognised for a job that I love.”

For more information about the Walnut Tree visit their website.