Cotswold builder invents new sports equipment for homes and schools
IT is the kind of idea that is so obvious, it is amazing no one has produced it before.
But now builder- turned-inventor Phil Parker's simple creation – an adjustable sports net – looks set to become a must-have for any garden, beach or sports hall.
The first production run of NetPost, which he initially thought of during a long-haul flight to Australia, arrived in the county last week, and he has taken orders.
Phil, of Long Newnton, near Tetbury, said it is a sports net that is easily and automatically wound up around the posts – making set up and take-down time a matter of seconds rather than minutes – and, crucially, for those posts to be height and width adjustable. And because it's fully retractable, it rolls up easily into a small bag that will fit in the boot of a car.
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"We had a sports net in the garden for volleyball but what happened was, like most people, you take it down at the end of the summer and chuck it in the shed and it's all tangled up and unusable when you get it the following year," he said.
"I was on a flight to Australia and just doodling when I came up with the idea. It is one of those things you think someone must have done before, and I did wonder why no one has. But I did a lot of research and found that one chap in America tried to do something similar but couldn't get it to work. Now I have, and I've got patent pending on all the important bits of it.
"We're getting a lot of interest from schools, sports clubs and holiday clubs and so on, because you can do so many different things with it."
After numerous prototypes, it is now ready to sell to the public. Phil and his business partner Mike Porter, from Malmesbury, Wiltshire, have now set up a website to sell direct to customers.
"It's the kind of thing that everyone will love, it'll hopefully be the next big thing in the garden, like Swingball," he added.