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Man from Downham wins £100,000 from Dragon's Den for nostalgia pods
A FORMER Orpington College student has won £100,000 from Dragon’s Den for nostalgia pods which help reassure dementia patients.
Downham-born Richard Ernest, 35, was featured in the BBC show last Sunday (August 25) with his creation Rempods.
These are pop up interiors – which include a dance hall, a vintage store and a pop up cinema – and provide a therapeutic and calming environment for users.
The pods are already in 40 NHS trusts, care homes, daycentres and care charities across the UK but the entrepreneur wanted to take his product to the next level.
Dragons Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden agreed to give £50,000 each in exchange for a 22.5 per cent share.
Mr Ernest set up RemPods in 2009 after forming a close friendship with an elderly neighbour and his wife who suffered with dementia.
He realised the importance of familiarity for sufferers and so created interiors reminiscent of a bygone era.
The entrepreneur was born and raised in Reigate Road, Downham and attended Merlin Primary School in Ballamore Road. His mother and siblings still live in Burnt Ash Lane.
He moved to Lee Green, Lewisham, when he was 15 and went to Sedgehill secondary school in Sedgehill Road, Catford, before going to Orpington College in Rookery Lane (which has now merged with Bromley College).
Now a father-of-two living in Stroud, he is confident his innovation will benefit dementia patients but says the Dragon’s Den experience was the “scariest thing I’ve ever done”.
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