A woman who triumphed over stress and depression to create a successful crafts business has been named one of the country's Top 50 business heroes.
Alison Best, from County Durham, has built an international market for her "expressionist stencils" since launching her business this year after turning to her art to deal with stress-related illness.
Now she has been recognised in the Barclays Trading Places Awards - supported by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Jobcentre Plus and The Prince's Trust - which were launched in March to recognise men and women who have overcome various barriers and battled against the odds to set up in business.
Alison, who launched stencil business Alison J Best in West Kyo, near Stanley, now hopes to scoop the £7,000-plus top prize.
Her work has included illustrating a book for Alnwick Garden, private sales through a Gateshead gallery and she is working with an engineering firm to develop ornamental gates and glass panels.