A BIRTHDAY party in Ledbury this week will be a true multi-national affair, with key guests jetting in from as far afield as Texas, Australia and Panama.

The event, in the Pavilion Room of Ledbury Rugby Club, on Friday September 5, from 7pm, will be the 80th birthday party for Tom Bot, - a name to conjure with in the field of local and international horticulture, and up to 130 invited guests are expected.

Mr Bot came from Holland in the early 1960s and was the first general manager of Wye Fruits, in Ledbury.

He later established several businesses in the town, including Dutch Grower services and Treelinks.

Close friend and former colleague, David Pragnell, who has organised the party said: "He was also the main instigator in the establishment of many top fruit orchards in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

"His company Treelinks became a major player in the import and export of soft fruits in this country."

Mr Pragnell added: "He is an exceptional man, very much the entrepreneur, and also a party man, - really someone different. We could have had 230 guests, because he was a big guy in the local horticultural industry."

Mr Bot was also influential in the Kent area, and a number of guests will be travelling up from there.

But it is the international dimension which makes the big party unusual.

Mr Bot's daughter, Johanna, will be flying in from Texas and his youngest son, Peter, will arrive from Australia.

Mr Bot himself will be flying in from Panama, a county he retired to 15 years ago, and afterwards he will fly to Holland, for another 80th birthday party.

Mr Bot's second wife, Caroline, was from Ledbury, and the couple still love to visit the town.