A CIDER giant has welcomed home a bottle of bubbles made at its site in 1973 – with the delivery made by staff who worked there at the time of its creation.

Heineken was the highest bidder in an online auction held by Alice Price, who had become the owner of a bottle of Bulmers Pomagne.

She had invited bids for the vintage bottle, which was originally marketed as 'champagne cider', to raise money for St Michael's Hospice.

It was collected by Sue Baines and Dave Lea, who worked for Bulmers when this special cider was made, and Adam Spencer the engineering manager who placed the winning bid of £750.

Sue Baines, who started at the company in 1971, and Dave Lea, who will celebrate his 50th year with the company this year, were delighted to make a positive contribution to the hospice and return the bottle to Plough Lane.

Alexander Brinkerink, cider plant manager, said: "St Michael’s Hospice is such an important service in the local community and we are really pleased to be able to support them by bidding on the Pomagne bottle.

"It is particularly special for us to have colleagues who were working for Bulmers when the cider was made to collect it. Our history in this community is something we are very proud of and it is important to us that we’re able to continue supporting great causes like this."

Paul Broome, communications officer for St Michael's Hospice, thanked Miss Price for choosing to raise money for the hospice.

He said: "Thanks also to Heineken for bidding on the item. It is particularly pleasing to know the bottle will remain in Hereford having been returned to Bulmers’ Plough Lane base.

"Between the two parties, they have demonstrated what a great community we have here in Herefordshire and the surrounding area."