Karen Barrett received certificate of achievement after 20 years of community service in Aldington

Posted: 01/11/2022

After two decades at the helm of Shepherd Neame The Walnut Tree pub in Aldington, incumbent Karen Barrett received a certificate of achievement from Ashford Mayor Cllr Callum Knowles last month.

The award states “In recognition of 20 years of outstanding community service through establishing a center for local groups and activities, tireless charitable fundraising and as a selfless volunteer caring for others by cooking and providing supplies during the Covid shutdowns of 2020”.

Cllr Knowles said: “It was an honor for me to present a Mayor’s Award of Excellence 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 that she has accomplished.

This is not Karen’s first honor in recognition of her community work, as she also received a Heart of the Community award at Shepherd Neame’s annual Pub Awards in 2019. The Walnut Tree is a meeting place for a crowd local organizations including the Aldington Women’s Institute, a men’s church group, Microlight Society, Knit and Natterers and the local bridge club, as well as support for Aldington football and cricket clubs. Karen’s charity work includes volunteering as a trustee of Kaleidoscope Childcare, running 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.

Karen, 58, mother of two, 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 emphasis on raising money for charity and supporting local residents and groups. Throughout the difficulties of the pandemic, we have maintained a “glass half full” attitude, reflecting on what we can do to help others. We delivered meals to people in the village, at no cost to the vulnerable, and also organized grocery supplies. For some people, we were their only point of contact during the lockdown, so it was a real privilege to be able to help them.

Built during the reign of Richard II, Le Noyer has retained many period features, including oak beams and a cantou. Today the pub is known for its excellent home cooking, including a popular Sunday roast and its famous ‘sizzling rocks’. This ancient method of cooking involves cooking the meat on hot stones on the tables, to your liking. Additionally, the menu offers a range of classic British dishes, as well as vegetarian dishes, bar snacks, a children’s menu and daily specials.

Karen added: “This pub has been a wonderful home for my family for the past two decades; my two children, who were 3 and 18 months old when we arrived, grew up here. Managing walnut is not a job, it’s a way of life. The bar is my main room, where I have seen generations of families grow up, parents bringing their children who have grown up and now visit the pub on their own! It’s wonderful to be recognized for a job that I love.

For more information on Walnut, visit their website.

Jill E. Washington