Last week’s storms might have brought parts of the UK to a halt, but they were an opportunity for Wolverhampton businessman Ray Aldridge.
Mr Aldridge, of Saxon UK, came up with a groundbreaking development in fencing he hopes could stop homeowners being blown away by bad weather.
He dreamt up the idea for his FenceBrace invention when his wobbly wooden panels came down.
The engineer went straight to the drawing board and produced plans for sets of telescopic steel tubes that attach to fence posts and expand across the wooden panels.
And just a few weeks after perfecting the design, and with financial support from Business Link West Midlands he has a patent pending and has secured his first order to supply the Hollybush Garden Centre in Wolverhampton.
Mr Aldridge, who jointly owns Saxon UK with business partner Ken Wolverson, said: "There’s nothing like it on the market and after testing it on panels in strong winds, we’ve proved it works.
"Not only does it make them stronger and wind resistant, it stops the creaking and rattling noise. Its powder coat polyester finish is tested by an industry standard salt spray test to withstand rusting for seven years.
"We’ve made about 1,000. They can be attached to wooden or concrete posts. And the way the weather has been recently, now is the perfect time to get the product out there. Hollybush’s projected decision to take on a bulk batch couldn’t have come at a better time.
"As it’s the only product of its kind, it’s anyone’s guess how successful it could be."
Business Link adviser Geoff Lancaster said he hoped more budding inventors would be in touch for advice on how to progress commercial ideas.
He said: "I’m delighted Saxon UK has secured its first supply order for FenceBrace, so soon after designing the product. It is a great design and demonstrates how a good idea, determination and tenacity can lead to, hopefully, a thriving and buoyant business. It is also testament to how straightforward it can be to go from the design to getting the product on the shelves and selling it."