WHEN landlord Derek Shirley bet two of his lovestruck employees their relationship would never last he didn't bank on them claiming their winnings three decades later.

But the Northwich businessman is now £150 poorer after Peter and Janet Jones celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary.

Last week the Guardian reported the Comberbach couple were trying to track down their old boss, who had bet them £5 they wouldn't go the distance when they got together while working at The Railway in Hartford.

Peter jokingly laid down the gauntlet to the former chairman of Witton Albion FC asking him to pay his dues and donate them to St Luke's Hospice.

We were inundated with phone calls about his whereabouts but on Wednesday, Derek contacted the Guardian himself and made his former employees an offer they couldn't refuse.

He said: "It's something I always used to say to couples, though I can't remember betting a fiver. Still if they say I did I must have done so I've got a proposition for them.

"I'll give them £5 for every year they've been married providing we split it between their charity - St Luke's Hospice - and mine, Francis House Children's Hospice."

On Thursday the three former workmates met up at The Blue Cap for the first time in more than 30 years.

Derek said: "I remember Peter working for me and he was one of my stars - he was very, very good. And I remember putting Janet and him together on her first night.

"I'd recognise Peter but Janet has changed a lot."

All three recalled a night when Derek asked Peter to give Janet a lift home, which is how their relationship started.

Janet said: "Just think what might have happened if Derek hadn't asked you to give me a lift."

Derek added: "What she didn't know was that Peter had set that up."

The couple say they will keep in touch with Derek and thanked him for his kindness.

Peter said: "It's fantastically generous of Derek. It was just a bit tongue in cheek but we thought he'd take it in good humour."