Idea that came blowing in the wind

Ian Briggs A GUST of wind which blew a Yorkshire entrepreneur's grandma to the ground proved the catalyst for his business.

The fall by 86-year-old Evelyn Smith, who lives on her own, broke one of her arms in several places and family members became concerned for her well-being.

Her grandson, James Batchelor, of Holmfield, near Halifax, decided to develop a contact system so he and his family could be alerted if a mishap occurred.

Now the 28-year-old has launched the innovation as a business called Alertacall which is aimed at vulnerable and elderly people.

The user presses a button connected to the home telephone line before an agreed time every day to signal they are well.

Should the person fail to press the button, which sends a signal to a contact centre, the system will attempt to contact the user on the phone.

If that proves to be unsuccessful Alertacall will call up to three nominated people to alert them to the fact there may be a problem.

Mr Batchelor said: "Some 3.5 million people live alone, but more frighteningly 32 people die alone and unnoticed in their home every day.

"The Alertacall service requires the elderly person to press a button everyday to signify they are okay.

"If the button doesn't get pressed, a member of the Alertacall team calls that person to check if they are okay.

"And if there is still no response Alertacall will then phone up to three nominated friends to alert them. With Alertacall, families know that unless they hear otherwise, their loved one is alright."

Mr Batchelor said his system would suit people who felt they were a nuisance if they called family and friends every day and those who were too busy or unable to check on relatives frequently.

Mr Batchelor has established a number of businesses previously, including Leeds-based internet service provider Totalise, online florist and gift retailer Flowers2send and medical recruitment agency JCJ Holdings.