Corby-made toy gets John Lewis backing

Jean Fisher-Taylor, from Corby, has co-developed a toy/educational tool called Ur-Tubes.
Jean Fisher-Taylor, from Corby, has co-developed a toy/educational tool called Ur-Tubes.
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The inventor of an educational toy which has received recognition from one of the UK’s leading retailers says the response to the product has been fantastic.

Corby-based Ur-Tubes, which got through to the finals of the Startup Britain competition for homegrown inventions run by department store John Lewis, is based on lightweight plastic tubes which can be used by children to create a variety of objects.

As part of the prize, mentors from the High Street store have helped and advised Ur-Tubes with marketing and other aspects of getting the business off the ground.

Jean Fisher-Taylor, the owner of the company, has also worked alongside Enterprise4Corby, a service run by the University of Northampton, to promote the tubes among local schools and nurseries – and she said the uptake had been phenomenal.

She said: “It’s a system using different lengths of tube and different shaped connectors, which allow children’s imaginations to flourish.

“They can be turned into a boat, a plane, a rocket, a house – it’s got infinite possibilities.”

Explaining how the idea came about, she added: “We have got children and a grandson. He wanted a den, and we were getting plumbing pipes.

“We realised there was probably a bit of a gap there.

“We launched in August and we have got into nearly all the local nurseries.

“We attended a childcare expo in Coventry – we took 36 sets and came back with just one.

“The feedback we have done in schools has been fantastic.”

Mrs Fisher-Taylor has paid tribute to Enterprise4Corby for the help the offered by the group.

Ur-Tubes has also received a £1,000 grant from Northamptonshire County Council.