Andy's Wetwash mayend wetwipes scourge
An inventor is hoping his latest bathroom brainwave will help turn the tide in the battle against the scourge of wetwipes flushed down the loo.
For three years, Andy Speechley (69) has been developing the Wetwash - a low cost and portable bidet that can attach to any toilet.
It has a reservoir for warm water that can be filled from the tap and uses a pump action to deliver the water to the user’s bottom via a telescopic douche arm placed under the toilet seat.
Much of his work has been carried out in Peterborough at the Innovation Lab in the Allia Future Business Centre, in London Road.
Mr Speechley, who was born in Peterborough, went to Deacon Shool and lives in Marholm, hopes the Wetwash will help end the need for people to use wetwipes that are then flushed down the loo.
Water giant Anglian Water is so relieved help to end the wetwipe blockages may be at hand it has given Mr Speechley £10,000 to help make his idea become a reality.
Mr Speechley, who made his living as a folk singer, said: “No one has come up with something like this and it should help stop people using wetwipes.
“It will also help people suffering from a range of medical conditions.
“It is a very simple low cost warm water bidet that doesn’t require any plumbing for installation.”
Mr Speechley hopes to start making his Wetwash in four months and each will sell for about £30.
He said: “It has not been easy work, but finding the Innovation Lab gave me an extraordinary lift.”
Six years ago, Mr Speechley hit the headlines with his Dignity Bidet Commode, created after a friend suffered a stroke and was mortified at having to be cleaned by his daughter. It quickly won the backing of the Thalidomide Trust.
An Anglian Water spokesperson said: “We have contributed £10,000 towards this project, which will fund the development of prototype devices which we hope to be able to trial in selected areas for the benefit of our customers and the environment.
“The project may help in tackling the problem of wet wipes being wrongly flushed down the toilet, by giving people a hygienic alternative for keeping clean.
“We clear over 30,000 blockages a year caused by wipes, cotton buds and sanitary items being wrongly flushed down the toilet.
“Around 80 per cent of these blockages are completely avoidable.”
Head of Enterprise Support at Allia, Paul Hughes, said: “We are delighted to be helping startups such as Wetwash who are creating innovative solutions to major environmental challenges.
“We are proud to support impact organisations that contribute towards addressing important goals.”