From the dole to Dragons Den - How dad turned nightmare into dream job

What started out as a bit of fun for the kids has taken Derry Green's life to places he would never have expected - including BBC One's hit TV show Dragons Den.
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A dad from Skelmersdale has been living his dream after everything appeared to fall apart during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dad-of-two Derry Green lost his job at the start of the first lockdown. At the time he was going back and forth between the UK and Spain with a European transport business but, as restrictions came in and travel tightened business dried up. From then on Derry was without a job, and was forced to apply for Universal Credit and the mortgage payment freeze.

During lockdown boredom hit, and an initial excursion into his garden to camp with his kids went down well, but not so much the wet grass and discomfort the next morning. So, he decided to get to work to make it more comfortable.

Derry told LiverpoolWorld: "We ended up basically moving the living room out into the garden. By the end of the first lockdown I'd also built this hut as somewhere to sleep. I thought nothing of it at the time. It was just something I'd done with my kids."

Soon a friend of a friend got in touch after seeing an Instagram post of the 'dad build' he had created, and asked if he would share his little lockdown creation with UniLad and LadBible.

One of the units in The Secret Garden GlampingOne of the units in The Secret Garden Glamping
One of the units in The Secret Garden Glamping

The story would blow up and soon strangers were messaging him. He said: "People started to message me asking if they could come and stay in my garden. It was so weird."

A decision to list the site on Airbnb was soon made. He said: "I'd come down the next morning and it was booked fully for the next two years. I decided to take it from there really."

Now he runs The Secret Garden Glamping out of the site, offering people a place a little out of the ordinary to get away in the form of 11 hand-built glamping units. Currently you would have to wait around two years to get a spot at the Secret Garden, and Derry said the team has to turn away around 1,000 people each week due to being fully booked.

A sauna and pool table at The Secret Garden GlampingA sauna and pool table at The Secret Garden Glamping
A sauna and pool table at The Secret Garden Glamping

Derry added: "It just gets bigger and bigger every day.

"I love being outside. When we moved to where we are now it came with four acres of woodland but we didn't get it with the intention of turning it to anything like this. It's like my 12 year old self has designed the dream job for me.

"At the start of lockdown I'd lost everything. The first three days of lockdown I lost my job. I went on Universal Credit and took the mortgage payment break. It was awful. But by the end of of lockdown it had come full circle really."

Derry Green of The Secret Garden Glamping pitches on Dragon's DenDerry Green of The Secret Garden Glamping pitches on Dragon's Den
Derry Green of The Secret Garden Glamping pitches on Dragon's Den

On Thursday, January 11, Derry is set to feature on Dragons' Den with The Secret Garden Glamping as he looks to expand the business to new venues. The dad-of-two, who is expecting another child with his partner, called it "one of the most amazing experiences of my life".

He added: "If you told me two or three years ago if I would be on Dragons' Den I wouldn't have believed you. It's so weird. It's like it's a daze, like it never actually happened. Everyday I feel like I'm going to wake up none of this will be real."