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Del Boy Inspires Spring Water Venture

From The Western Mail, 4 October 2004

DEL BOY may have had many inspirational ideas in the course of his long career but none appears to have had quite the impact of his Peckham Spring Water.

So inspired was one Pembrokeshire farmer by the vintage episode of Only Fools and Horses that he set off in search of his own homegrown well.

Robert Lewis eventually discovered the disused well underneath mounds of undergrowth and found to his surprise that it had been used to bottle water back in the 19th century.

Now the 39-year-old is developing a business to sell spring water from the farm to a new generation of bottled-water consumers.

"It's absolutely gorgeous water," he said.

"There's a huge demand for bottled water out there and I want to tap into it."

Mr Lewis, whose farm was the scene of a notorious murder case in 1949, has been farming at Lower Furze Hill Farm in Rosemarket for more than 20 years.

The 30-acre farm was bought by his grandfather George in 1950, after the infamous murder case.

Once a beef farm, the land is now used for the growing of potatoes.

"I was watching TV around four years ago and saw an episode of Only Fools and Horses when they produced Peckham Spring Water," said Mr Lewis.

"So the following day I went down to our old well. It took me three hours to find it underneath all the undergrowth as I did not know exactly where it was.

"I eventually found it and saw that the water in it was still shining and looked really nice."

Following a test by the local authority, Mr Lewis began clearing the ground around the well and found several more wells, along with the remains of an old pump and pipework.

"I also started digging up old water bottles and found that a former mayor of Pembroke, SB Sketch, had once bottled water at the site in the 1880s."

Since then a bottling plant has been built on the farm and although a first foray into the business by another company went flat, he is confident his new venture, Rosemarket Spring Water will sparkle.

The plant, which will employ four people, is due to come on-line in the new year and he says he already has customers all over Britain.