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London Eye celebrates 5 years with champagne for all

The world's largest observation wheel turned five on Tuesday. To celebrate, all visitors were offered a quarter bottle of champagne.

The London Eye had 7000 quarter bottles of Laurent Perrier champagne and 3000 bottles of orange juice on standby. Visitors were served their drink in a marquee set up at the base of the wheel.

Dame Kelly Holmes launched the day of celebrations at the Eye, which has become the UK's top paid-for attraction. More than 18 million people have

"The London Eye has had a major effect on putting the South Bank at the forefront of the must-see area of London during a trip to the capital" pronounced Visit London's CEO David Campbell. "The New Year fireworks display around the wheel has also helped to propel London into the spotlight as the world's best city to visit throughout the year."

Press reports this week suggest that after three years of negotiations a deal will soon be agreed to restructure the attraction's crippling 130 million debt to British Airways.

Despite a healthy operating profit the Eye last year made an overall loss of 18 million because of debt interest payments running at 25 per cent.

According to the Evening Standard a new investor is expected to take over BA's shareholding, write off much of the debt and refinance the rest at a much lower interest rate.

The wheel's co-designer David Marks, who owns a third of the company, said: "We have presented an elegant solution which will leave the London Eye Company in charge of the attraction. I am hopeful a solution will be agreed."

How we reported the opening of the London Eye five years ago

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