a WALKERBURN plumber is in the running for a national award – and Ross Dickinson could be hailed a hero across the country following the huge number of burst pipes during this winter’s harsh weather.
For the 35-year-old has invented a device to stop broken waterpipes gushing until a plumber can attend.
He said: “A lot of people are very excited about it and say it could go global, but I’m just taking it as it comes. I believe in the Kibosh and I want it to succeed, but I’m not going to blow my own trumpet.”
Yesterday he was pitching his invention to the John Logie Baird award judges in Edinburgh in the first round of the competition.
The final touches are being put to the plastic leak stopper which is expected to be on the market in March.
Mr Dickinson explained: “It’s a clamp-like device, it’s easy to use – it can be done with one hand if you’ve got a tight space. In the worst case scenario it would make a gush into a manageable trickle.
“Hopefully it’s going to be good for people in a desperate situation and if it creates some jobs that will be a boost for everybody.”
He came up with the idea three winters ago.
“I was fixing somebody’s burst pipes in Melrose and the place was absolutely wrecked and I just said to myself, ‘I can’t believe there’s nothing on the market that people could use’, and I just thought of the Kibosh. It just popped into my head.
“I took it to a family friend, Colin MacMillan at Cademuir Toolmakers in Selkirk, drew some pictures and explained it to him, and he thought it was a good idea and they helped with the prototype development. I have tried it and it does work.”
Mr Dickinson has been working 16-hour days developing it since, alongside building up his plumbing business.
The competition came about by chance.
“I was at a materials seminar in Glasgow (for the Kibosh) and I saw a poster for the John Logie Baird awards and asked them about it.”
The award carries £10,000 worth of business support and help to take the product to market.
“Winning a John Logie Baird award would be a great way to kick-start this stage, giving the Kibosh the recognition and credibility I believe it deserves,” he said.
“It would be a really big boost. A lot of people have been working on this.”
Already this winter Scottish Water says it has received four times the normal level of calls from customers needing help with burst pipes.
Mr Wilkinson’s emergency repair solution would also work on accidentally ruptured or perforated water pipes as well as those broken because of frost.
The award winners will be announced in March.