DAD GOES INTO DEN TO FACE DRAG­ONS

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - CATHY OWEN Re­porter cathy.owen@waleson­line.co.uk

AWELSH dad who left his job as a teacher to be a car­pen­ter, af­ter his daugh­ter was se­ri­ously in­jured in an ac­ci­dent, is set to ap­pear on Drag­ons’ Den tonight ask­ing Deb­o­rah Meaden, Peter Jones and Co to in­vest in his new busi­nesses.

Craig Hill, from Whitchurch, Cardiff, made the ca­reer change af­ter his daugh­ter Eirian, who was two at the time, fell back­wards into an open fire.

Her dad was able to put out the flames but not be­fore sig­nif­i­cant burns to her back and legs, re­quir­ing months of in­ten­sive care and skin grafts.

Af­ter the ac­ci­dent, Craig strug­gled to deal with the emo­tional im­pact of the tragedy and found him­self sink­ing into de­pres­sion as he tried to jug­gle his work and home life.

It ul­ti­mately made him de­cide to give up his teach­ing ca­reer. He took on some deck­ing jobs for friends dur­ing the sum­mer that fol­lowed. He found he was good with his hands and en­joyed the work.

Jobs flowed in through rec­om­men­da­tions and re­fer­rals so he trained and qual­i­fied as a car­pen­ter and be­gan his jour­ney cre­at­ing his own busi­ness, called Land­scapes for Learn­ing.

The en­trepreneur now makes an af­ford­able range of out­door learn­ing equip­ment aimed at cash-strapped pri­mary schools, nurs­eries and day care cen­tres.

The range of prod­ucts in­clude mud kitchens, bal­ance beams, sand­pits and scales.

And he is go­ing on the BBC show in the hope of se­cur­ing back­ing from the judges.

Craig says: “As the main bread win­ner for our fam­ily, tak­ing the de­ci­sion to quit teach­ing was in­cred­i­bly stress­ful. But I was re­ally strug­gling af­ter my daugh­ter’s ac­ci­dent and couldn’t con­tinue as I was.

“I needed to find a way to sup­port my fam­ily that also helped im­prove my men­tal health and I found work­ing with my hands, cre­at­ing some­thing from noth­ing, to be ex­tremely ther­a­peu­tic. When I qual­i­fied as a car­pen­ter it felt like a new be­gin­ning.”

BBC

Deb­o­rah Meaden, Peter Jones and Tej Lal­vani try­ing out one of Craig Hill’s see-saws. In­set, Craig ap­pear­ing be­fore the Drag­ons

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