Barr bottle blow for Bill

Bill Boyd
Bill Boyd

A charity stalwart fears his fundraising days could soon be over after a soft drink firm’s decision to stop producing returnable glass bottles.

Retired Bellshill postman Bill Boyd has been presenting bumper cheques to St Andrew’s Hospice for more than 20 years and was awarded the MBE for his sterling work.

However, most of the money comes from collecting empty glass Irn Bru bottles and claiming the 30p per bottle deposit.

Now Cumbernauld-based AG Barr has announced plans to stop using returnable glass bottles.

Bill has featured regularly in the Times & Speaker as he always presents a cheque to the hospice after reaching £1,000. His latest presentation was last month.

He said: “This decision to end returnable glass bottles is breaking my heart. I’d say 85 per cent of the bottles I get are Barr’s.

“People collect them for me and I also get a lot from factory canteens. Without the bottles it will take me a long time to reach the next £1,000.”

Bill refuses to be too downcast. He uses a wheelchair these days and joked: “It’s not as if I can run a marathon to raise money, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.”

AG Barr believes it is the last firm in Britain with returnable bottles.

A spokesman expressed sympathy with Bill, saying: “We know there are people who have worked extremely hard over the years collecting empty bottles to raise money for good causes.

“We have always worked closely with them and we are happy to speak to Mr Boyd about how we can support his fundraising activity while we make this change.”

Commercial director Jonathan Kemp said: “It’s a sad decision to take - the end of an era.”