Helions Bumpstead farmer Andrew Gage has struck gold with his business idea for a garden firepit – raking in thousands of pounds worth of orders.
The steel fireballs – a cross between a patio heater and a work of art – have been snapped up with HRH the Duke of Edinburgh stopping by at the Chelsea Flower Show to admire the farmer’s handiwork.
Andy, 34, took £50,000 worth of orders at Chelsea where TV Dragon Den businesswoman Deborah Meadon and actor Ross Kemp also showed interest in the innovative idea he dreamt up in his farm workshop.
Talking about the Duke’s visit to his stand, he said: “I had to explain what they were and what they were for. I don’t think sitting around a firepit in the garden with a few drinks on a summer evening is something they do at the palace.
“I do a shooting themed fire ball so I showed him some pictures which he liked, especially the pheasants.”
Andy’s English Country Fireball product ended up in the final of the show’s Chelsea Product of the Year category.
Andy also took his new invention to the Suffolk Show and says he did well there, too.
Father-of-four Andy, from Board Barn, has sculpted designs of a safari, a forest, prancing horses, dancing couples, deers and even dragons and fairies.
He created a World War One-inspired Flanders Fields firebowl auctioned off at Chelsea Flower Show, raising £3,500 in aid of Chelsea Pensioners.
“I started making fireballs as a diversification to keep me busy during slow periods on the farm,” he said. “I never could have guessed how much attention the fireballs would get. The experience at Chelsea has been phenomenal. I’m still just a farmer from Suffolk so to be mingling with celebrities and Royalty has been unbelievable.”