Published Wednesday 19th April 2017

A global drinks giant and a cider enthusiast in New Zealand have helped raise more than £1,000 for St Michael’s Hospice.

Last month, Hereford resident Alice Price decided to auction her bottle of 1973 Bulmers ‘Champagne’ Pomagne for her hospice.

It was bought by Bulmers’ owners, Heineken, for an impressive £750 following an online social media auction.

This led to Eric James, who also lives in Hereford, donating his own bottle of Pomagne which he had owned since it was produced more than 40 years ago.

This vintage was snapped up for £350 by 62-year-old Trevor FitzJohn, a radiologist and former UK resident now living in Wellington, New Zealand.

‘I grow UK cider apples, make cider and collect cider memorabilia,’ said Mr FitzJohn.

‘I have been lucky and successful in life and try and support good charities such as St Michael’s Hospice.’

Eric said it went for more than he thought it would, adding he was glad the money was going to a good cause.

The total raised from the two auctions has been boosted by former Bulmers seasonal worker Kalvin Haley, who read about the first donation and decided to give £250 to St Michael’s.

‘I am happy to top-up the money raised with another £250 to the Hospice for the memory of it all, especially the Pomagne,’ said Mr Haley, who worked on the presses in the old cider mill at Plough Lane, Hereford for three months in 1971.

The first bottle has since been returned to Bulmers’ Plough Lane base by the cider giant.

Alice said she would like to thank Eric for donating the second bottle, and both Mr FitzJohn and Bulmers for bidding.

Paul Broome, Communications Officer at St Michael’s, said this demonstrates the community’s generosity.

‘Neither Alice nor ourselves could have imagined that the initial cider bottle donation would spark a fundraising effort reaching New Zealand and totalling £1,350,’ he said.

‘Thank you to everyone involved, both here and abroad, for helping raise such a wonderful sum.’

Captions for photos above:

1) Alice Price with Eric James and the bottle of cider he donated

2) Alice Price with Dave Lea, Sue Baines and Adam Spence of Bulmers (Photo courtesy of Heineken)

3) Kalvin Haley, who donated £250 to St Michael’s

4) Trevor FitzJohn, who bought one of the vintage ciders for £350