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Stamford inventor Andy Speechley develops devices to help on the most personal of hygeine issues

An inventor who lives near Stamford has created devices to help with the most personal of hygiene issues.

Andy Speechley of Marholm has invented a machine to help people wipe their own bottoms.

His company Better Hygiene Ltd specialises in making cleaning systems to help older and disabled people and Andy has earned much praise for his latest invention.

The Wash Seat
The Wash Seat

The former folk singer once created the ‘dignity commode’, which featured a bidet, after a friend had a stroke and needed his daughter to help with the task. The device won an NHS innovation award 10 years ago.

Another invention, the ‘Aquarius bidet’, was then created for people born without arms and legs, a portable device they can take on holiday.

More recently, his own mother-in-law developed Alzheimer’s disease and needed support at a care home in Stamford. She became upset at needing help with that most basic of bodily tasks.

This led Andy to invent ‘washseat’, which allows users to spraywash their bottom underneath.

Last month the device was exhibited at a major occupational therapy exhibition, receiving a nomination for an innovation award.

This followed Andy, in October, having received a Design Council Award from Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden, who told him how such a device could help her disabled sister.

Andy Speechley with Deborah Meaden and (inset) the Washseat
Andy Speechley with Deborah Meaden and (inset) the Washseat

Now, Addenbrooke’s Hospital is helping Andy go through NHS and other approval processes before large-scale manufacturing of ‘washseat’ can begin.

“The NHS has a rigorous testing programme. They help and suggest improvements, which will be incorporated in the designs,” said Andy.

“I can manufacture already, but only in ones and twos, but instead of individual handmade units, we can have a run of thousands.”

Such an investment will cost ‘six-figures’ but Andy says the potential is almost limitless and jobs will be created.

Andy says many people find the inability to carry out the most basic of cleaning functions most upsetting and embarrassing.

It is also a major driving factor to force people to leave their own home for a care home, something which costs them or the state thousands of pounds a month.

Andy says there are currently more than a million users of similar raised seat devices in Western Europe, with the numbers set to grow through an ageing population.

He added: “It’s not just a British problem, but the whole of Europe and the USA.”

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