FORMER Haslemere woman Avril O’Neil has clearly struck a chord nationally with her reinvention of the doorbell.

A Woolmer Hill School “old girl” and Haslemere Performing Arts regular, Avril graduated from Goldsmith’s, University of London, with a degree in design and set up a design company, Ding, with her husband John.

Their revolutionary “smart” doorbell enables the homeowner, when out and about, to talk to whoever is at the door and leave instructions if it’s a delivery, through their mobile phone.

The concept has already resonated with the Design Council, which gave the couple an innovation award, and with John Lewis, which not only put them on its JLAB accelerator programme to prepare them for retail sales but will also stock their doorbell in time for Christmas.

“We are really excited about the new innovation coming our way,” John Lewis buying director Jonathan Marsh said. “Given the boom we’re seeing around the smart home, we think Ding plays perfectly to that trend.”

Avril said: “We came up with the idea when our doorbell broke and we realised there was nothing that sounded nice. We wanted to make something that looked nice and sounded nice and could connect through a smartphone even if someone was not at home.

“When our doorbell is pressed it will chime inside and call your mobile phone so you can have a two-way conversation if you are not in with whoever is at the door. It’s all about convenience.

“It’s great it has done so well. We came up with the idea in 2015 and it’s been a long process making the hardware with the technology and software that goes with it. It’s probably been the most emotional and physically demanding process I’ve been involved with in my life but I have learned so much.”

And she added: “It’s amazing to be working with John. I don’t live in Haslemere now but we got married at The Hollycombe Steam Collection in Liphook.”

* Ding is now aiming to raise £250,000 for a 9.06 per cent equity in the business. The money invested will go toward growing their team in order to meet demand from retailers. To invest in their Seedrs campaign, visit