HOPES for adopting 'The Good Life' in Herefordshire were to bear fruit for Ivor Dunkerton, who has died this week at the age of 83.

The BBC producer and his wife, Susie escaped London nearly 40 years ago to set up cider production in the county where they spent their honeymoon in 1973.

Since founding Dunkerton's Organic Cider on a smallholding at Bearwood near Pembridge in 1980, the enterprise has become well-established with a range of premium award-winning cider and perry.

Despite the warm welcome the couple initially received, Susie believes that "lots of bets" were placed on how long their efforts would last.

"We must have been seen as a bit of a comedy act, self-sufficiency with two pigs, four cows and 18 sheep," she said.

"We knew nothing and cycled around the area asking for advice."

For the first two years Susie and Ivor did everything from shovelling apples and loading their original 1930s hydraulic press.

But in 2015, Dunkertons' was recognised with success in the prestigious BBC Food and Farming Award finals.

"We've had a life full of adventure, we were really lucky to have been able to do something together," said Susie.

"We were looking for somewhere with no connections when we chose Herefordshire for our honeymoon," she said.

"It really was a little haven."

Her brother, Andy Johnson who runs Logaston Press with his wife, Karen, has also adopted Herefordshire as home.

The Dunkertons met when Ivor, a TV documentary producer called in at the Shelter charity where Susie worked.

"He was very good about getting closer to people in his work, and he wanted to find families through Shelter prepared to be filmed for his documentary on the welfare state.

"I was told to keep him talking," she said.

Later in his career, Ivor felt he had covered everything in a documentary style. "He wrote one play, but there was no room to move into the drama department," explained Susie.

Keen gardeners at home in London, they had "dug up everything" in pursuit of The Good Life, and their vision was to acquire land as a viable business opportunity. Getting to know Herefordshire better through family holidays, they realised that traditional cider production, without concentrates and chemicals, was the answer Two years ago, the Dunkertons' son Julian took over running the business, which continues to grow, said Susie. Their son, Martin, a photographer and film-maker, lives in California.

The funeral will take place at St Mary's Church, Pembridge at 3.30pm on Monday, August 29 followed by burial in the churchyard. For details about donations to Medecins Sans Frontieres, contact Oak Tree Funeral Services at the Cemetery Chapel, Kington or by calling 01544 327829.