He is a long-serving president of the South Wales Shire Horse Society who, as a young boy, delivered Corona door-to-door by horse and dray. Leslie Moulden,85, talks to Kath Skellon about life as a Corona man.

“I always wanted to be a Corona man. He called to people’s homes and was a very special man. It’s part of my life and I have fond memories of a 44-year career with the Corona soft drinks company.

“I was born in Clyne, Neath in 1929. I had four brothers and two sisters and my parents and family moved to Birmingham in 1932. My father, four brothers and two sisters all worked for the same company, Thomas & Evans Corona Soft Drinks whose head office was in Porth. When I was five I helped my brothers selling Corona door to door. At nine I was riding horses to the farriers. We had 30 horses working door to door.

The Second World War bombing raids were horrendous during 1942. The records show that there were 77 air raids in Birmingham, with the death 2,241 people and 6,692 severely injured.

The longest raid lasted thirteen-and-a-half hours. Twenty-three districts were affected and 646 heavy bombs were dropped causing a great deal of distress for me as a child. When I went to school there were often pupils missing from their desks but unlike today nothing was said. It was very uncanny. Not a word to explain their absence. Their names were never called out in the register and you never asked where they were. That was the experience one had during the war as a child. Later on I was evacuated due to the severe bombing.

My father was extremely strict. He did not believe in pocket money. You had to earn it. When I was four I had a three-wheeled bicycle with a barrel on the back and would go around the streets picking up horse manure to sell for people to use in their gardens.

At five I used to go with my brothers and sold vinegar because all I could carry at that age. I used to go to the door and couldn’t pronounce the word vinegar but they would always buy one.

When I went to school I would go to the green grocers and get a ha’penny worth of apples and sell them for a farthing each. I was eventually caught in the playground by a teacher and caned so I started selling them through the railings on the pavement.

In 1943 because of the sugar and raw materials we did not distribute Corona at all but started reopening factories and depots after the war.

When I started working as a Corona delivery boy at 13 I had a youth employment card, a uniform made-to-measure because I was small and worked with a horse and cart on a Saturday selling Corona, vinegar and Terona Tea. I would groom the horse, put the harness, load up and check out before setting off with my cash bag to serve 250 customers on a Cob type section D covering ten miles and working from 7am until 8pm. They adored their little Corona boy and no competitor could poach my customers.

I earned 25 shillings a day which was a lot of money back then plus commission. They were very happy times, despite going out in all winds and weathers. When it rained or snowed all day you had no cover but people would often give the horse treats.

In the evenings I worked in the stables with my father, who was the company horse doctor and whisperer. He also produced horse medicines for saddlers throughout Birmingham.

A typical round covered 1400 customers. The rounds man would be at the stables at 7am to groom his horse before it was inspected. He would then cover up to 19 miles in the day in a perfectly-timed operation which customers could set their clocks by-in other words they knew the time the Corona man arrived. The Corona man was somebody different coming to the house.

They would return late in the evening and still have to do their accounting and make sure the dray was loaded for the next day. The horses accorded to Leslie were so accustomed to the route that they barely needed guidance. There were times when the driver would fall asleep on the way home and the horse would bring him the last four or five miles. They would find the driver still asleep back at the stables.

When I worked door-to-door in Birmingham there were many times during my round that I would see money in bottles behind the outside toilet door. On one occasion I can recall I followed the instructions, opened the toilet door and there was a lady on the toilet. After screams I retrieved the money and empty bottles and quickly retreated. Another time the customer was in labour so I called the midwife. You really see life when you are involved in door to door operations. The customers used to leave their back doors open and say the money is in the bottle in the kitchen and help yourself to tea and biscuits.

In 1950 I rejoined Corona after service in the army as a door to door salesman. After two years I was sales inspector in the Birmingham area and was then appointed depot sales manager in Poole, Dorset.

In 1958 I became factory sales manager of Plymouth, Devon and in 1961 I was area sales manager for five factories and eight depots for the Midlands and North Wales. I was made regional sales manager for Manchester with nine factories and 18 depots before becoming company sales manager for the UK in 1971.

I have two children David and Joy, seven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. I married my second wife, Margaret, at St Julian’s Church, Newport, on August 12, 1976. We settled in St Arvan’s, near Chepstow and I retired in 1989.

Corona is part of my life. It is a part of me and the whole family too. They used to say if they cut my veins dandelion and burdock would come out.

It isn’t available in shops anymore. It was a sad day as far as I am concerned and for the hundreds of people, like my family, that worked hard and long hours for Corona Soft Drinks.

The reason for discontinuing the brand was mainly due to dispensing with the returnable pop bottle which was, in fact, the image of Corona. By 1987 Britvic owned the company and the brand name vanished.

I joined the South Wales Shire Horse Society as Treasurer, 26 years ago because I love the Shire’s and have been president for five years.

The society’s Shire and miniature horse show has been held in Bailey Park, Abergavenny, for over 30 years and is one of the largest dedicated Shire shows in the UK.

It takes a lot of time to organise the show each year but I am passionate about it.

My role on the day is to welcome the dignitaries and take them around the show to see the horse exhibitors, trade stands and vintage cars. I generally oversee the running of the show."

The annual Shire Horse Show takes place in Bailey Park, Abergavenny, on July 4. For details visit swshs.org.uk