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Last Updated: Friday, 27 April 2007, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Device makes pet feeding easier
By Geoff Adams-Spink
Age & disability correspondent, BBC News website

Photo of a ginger cat waiting for his dinner
The inventor says the device should have a large market
A disabled man who was no longer able to bend to feed his pets has invented a device to make the process easier.

Ray Dinham's DinnerUp invention has been shortlisted for a new product award at Naidex 2007 - the annual disability show at the NEC.

The DinnerUp has taken Mr Dinham six years to develop and sells for just under 70.

He describes his device as "a solution to an everyday problem which had no easy answer".

Feeding frenzy

Somerset-based Ray Dinham has cerebral palsy and began to find it increasingly difficult to bend down to pick up his cats' food bowls.

The 57-year-old former engineer decided to put his skills to work to come up with a solution, but admits that his first attempt was over-ambitious.

"It was an automatic product and a bit too expensive for the market," he told the BBC News website.

His second version is far simpler - a tray attached to a column which, itself, is fixed to a wall or kitchen cabinet.

The tray is then wound up and down the column by turning a handle which includes a clutch device.

Mr Dinham believes that his typical customer will be an older person who finds it difficult to bend down - particularly someone who has recently had a hip replacement.

The Wizzybug, BIME

"There are 30,000 new hip joints in this country every year, so there's a huge market for a piece of equipment like this," he said.

Although he currently assembles the units himself, Mr Dinham is planning to outsource the manufacturing to a UK-based company as demand increases.

He has already started selling his device abroad including to a satisfied customer in the USA who wanted one in time for his wife's birthday.

"We got it to him in five days by air-freight - he was really chuffed."

Naidex 2007 is at the NEC in Birmingham from April 24 - 26.

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