A RAYLEIGH pub has beaten thousands of other applicants to become nationally recognised for its charming sign.

The Travellers Joy pub, which is based on Down Hall Road, Rayleigh, won the Pub Sign of the Year 2020 award for its charming mouse, winning twice as many votes as its nearest rival.

The sign, which was erected in May 2018, illustrates a cheerful mouse, passing a bunch of wild clematis.

The wild clematis, common in country hedgerows, is nicknamed traveller’s joy, taking a playful twist on the pub’s name.

Landlord of the Travellers Joy, Adam Crane, said: “I was in complete and utter shock when I found out we’d won – we live in a big country where there are hundreds and hundreds of pubs, so I couldn’t believe that little old us had managed to bag such an honour.

“The sign is an eyecatcher, and gives a real character and distinctiveness to the Travellers Joy as a pub, and I know that our clientele appreciate and value it.

“We are so chuffed, I think what sets us apart from the rest is how unique the picture is, the name of the pub itself, and the link between the two. Not many pubs have what we have.”

During the annual contest, which is run by the Inn Sign Society, judges were wowed with the pub’s distinctive traditional sign.

Mr Crane continued: “Tradition is at the core of a good pub, and pub signs are a key part of that tradition.

“A lot of other pubs don’t have a sign or totem pole outside anymore, so we pride ourselves for maintaining this over the years. That’s something all Greene King pubs like us have done.

“This will go down in Travellers Joy history – we were originally an old coaching house and have been here for hundreds of years. There’s so many stories the pub has, and this will definitely be high up in the list.”

David Roe, from the Inn Sign Society, said: “Inn signs are a wonderfully distinctive aspect of the British heritage, and a contribution to our unique national character, appreciated all over the world.

“The Travellers Joy sign is a splendid addition to that tradition, and richly deserves the coveted prize.”

The Travellers Joy will hold a special ceremony next Friday, where the Inn Sign Society will present them with the Pub Sign of the Year 2020 award.