Mick Gosden interviews Tony Morriss
- to discover more about the man behind the name...
Before I begin, there cannot be many people who have not seen (or possibly owned) the plastic ball launchers as shown above?
Across the globe, thousands upon thousands of these are in use daily - with dogs and their human companions out for exercise, incredible to think that they were the brainchild of a bloke with a broken back from Croydon... more on this later.
Born on Wednesday the 22nd 1964, Anthony Morriss entered the world.
One of six children, Tony had a challenging upbringing. Taking to the streets for a couple of years owing to a difficult home life.
Tony's fortunes changed when he met his wife Denise and as their relationship flourished so to did his ambition.
When talking to Tony you can feel the enthusiasm and the 'spark', and unraveling the stories is a bit like hunting for a bit of straw in a stack of needles!
But it was a serious accident whilst he was working for British Telecom that saw his creative side come alive.
He fell from a telegraph pole and broke his back, after years of surgical intervention and intense physiotherapy Tony began to recover - he was awarded a small compensation and he put this money to use on an invention that was his brainchild...
On the 30th May 1997 his design application was successful and the 'Dog-A-Rang' was put to market.
This was followed in 1998 with his Patent for the 'Fling and Fetch' that was redesigned and developed into the 'Chuck It'.
World events in 2003 saw the US President George W Bush using Tony's invention to entertain his dogs on the Whitehouse lawn prior to giving a press conference on the Iraq War.
As with many inventions it wasn't long before the world woke up and copied the idea, simple searches on Google will attribute the 'Chuckit' to Mark Oblack and Mariel Head - however this device can be traced back to Tony Morriss several years earlier!
Tony's mind was still very much focused on innovation and he set about designing new products, he realised that there was very little for horses to occupy themselves when they were confined to stables - apart from a hay net, there was nothing to stimulate them.
And so, the 'Boredom Breaker' was born - in conjunction with the accompanying product - the 'Lickit' (a food block in a range of flavours made using human food grade raw materials). Lickit remains the top equine toy & treat brand on the market today.
Tony went on to setup a successful business 'Henoli Telecoms' - drawing upon his knowledge whilst at British telecom he acted as an intermediary between BT and the customer, resolving disputes and repairing faults.
In his 'free' time Tony would coach football to a small group of local children. Owing to Tony's ability to make any activity fun his small group grew to become the largest junior football club in the area, with children from far and wide wanting to take part.
And this is where you can really tap in to what makes Tony 'tick', you see he is is a big kid at heart and what a large heart it is!
Tony called upon some of his close friends - a handful of blokes that could never say 'no' to him!, they became affectionately know as 'the Crazy Gang' and they set about organising events to raise all important funds for a children's hospice (Demelza Hospice Care for Children). Themed parties included a wild west, retro school disco and a phenomenal WW2 event. In 2010 Tony was awarded fundraiser of the year for Easy Sussex - amassing in excess of ten thousand pounds from their ventures.
Bede’s Sports Programme is underpinned by a ground-breaking Strength and Conditioning Programme led by our full-time Level 3 High Performance Coach, Tony Morriss.
All pupils have the opportunity to take advantage of Mr Morriss’ expertise with pupils introduced to both generic and bespoke programmes depending on their needs. Mr Morriss is also highly experienced offering re-hab programmes for those students who have suffered injuries and he has gained particular experience in supporting pupils through growth related injuries including Severs Disease and Osgood Schlatter’s Disease.