A cinema in Fordingbridge has scooped a national award for its efforts trying to keep its audience entertained during lockdown.

The Regal Cinema on Shaftesbury Street has been crowned winner of the Audience category at this year's Film Society of the Year Awards.

The accolade recognises the venue's work to host online film screenings which have kept film fans connected while the cinema was shut.

Manager Barry Robbins said: "It's quite an accolade, it's a national award organised to support independent and community cinemas all around the UK so we're delighted to have won.

"We knew we had a great application because we had such great support from our audience and a great group of club members who enjoy being part of the film community in Fordingbridge."

During lockdown, the cinema organised online weekly screenings bringing together cinema members and non-members through two Facebook groups.

Of the three movies selected each week, the audience would vote for their favourite which would then be shown at 7pm on Fridays, followed by a discussion at the end.

In order to be considered for the award, the cinema appealed to their audience on social media to gather their answers to the question: 'How have you and your friends from the community cinema kept the joy of watching films alive during lockdown?'

The "lovely" comments they received as well as references to previous news articles about their online screenings made up their application.

Barry added: "On Saturday evening we were announced as the award winners during the ceremony which was run online.

"We have had wonderful feedback on our socials since we announced it with lots more great feedback about the role we played in keeping local people's spirits up and encouraging them to watch great films during lockdown."

As well as recognition, the cinema has received a trophy and a cash prize of £1,000 which Barry says is "very useful".

"It's a tough time for us financially. We've been closed for six months so this is certainly very welcome and will help us to continue."

The venue has now reopened for private hires of up to 30 people split into household groups.

Covid permitting, it is planning to reopen to the public from November 4, showing new films but also those that have been postponed.