RETIRED staff who worked at the Bulmers cider factory in Hereford over the past 45 years have met up again.

They were joined by some former colleagues who still work at the now Heineken-owned cider producers in the city and reminisced about days gone by.

Derry Chester still works at the factory, having worked there for 43 years as well as two previous spells. He organised last month’s reunion at the Lichfield Vaults in Church Street with dozens attending.

He said workers past and present haven’t had a place to meet since the social club closed.

“A lot of these retired years ago and since the Woodpecker club went we’ve had no meeting place,” he said.

“When it was Bulmers all the pensioners, all the people who had retired, used to be able to keep in touch and the current workforce. You just lose contact now.

“We’ve got people here from IT, engineers, process, packaging, warehouse – everyone’s here.”

Mr Chester said that when he started at Bulmers in the 1970s the firm employed more than 2,000 people.

The summer of 1976 “made Bulmers” when their ciders became more popular.

“There wasn’t enough lorries, so they commandeered coal lorries, any flatbed lorry they were putting cider on the back to go somewhere.

“That made Bulmers what it is today, it was a nice place with a good atmosphere. You were never stressed, ever, working for Bulmers.”

One of those working at the Plough Lane factory more than 40 years ago was Colin Withers. He retired in 2009 after 35 years working for one of the biggest cider brands in the country.

He said it was one of the top employers in the city when he joined in 1974, and said it was “the place to work”.

“The fact being now it’s all computerised where as then it was manual,” he said.

Mr Withers added he hopes more reunions can take place.

Did you or a relative used to work at Bulmers? Do you have photos of the works outings, social nights, Christmas parties or leaving dos? We’d love to share them in a Bulmers memories special we are putting together. Please send your memories and photos to, adding ‘bulmers’ to the subject line