A BUSINESS started less than six months ago during the coronavirus pandemic has been recognised by a well-known TV ‘Dragon’.

Susan Cameron, who hand-paints designs onto plain ceramic crockery, is the founder of Echo Beach Designs.

As well as a range of ready-made designs, customers can also request personalised items that will be sent directly to their loved ones.

The 54-year-old North Berwick resident started her business in October last year, after being made redundant from her job as a project manager at a bank.

And Susan, who lives on Dirleton Avenue, has already won her first award, having been recognised by Theo Paphitis in his Small Business Sunday scheme.

Shortened to the hashtag ‘SBS’ on Twitter, each Sunday small businesses are invited to tweet him between 5pm and 7.30pm, describing their business in one tweet. Mr Paphitis then selects his favourite six, who then not only gain support and business advice from him and the SBS network, but also more publicity.

Well known for being a judge on TV’s Dragons’ Den, Mr Paphitis is owner of Ryman stationery, lingerie company Boux Avenue and homeware store Robert Dyas.

Susan, mother to Kyle, 15, was in a six-month fixed term contract with a bank last year but, when it came to the end of her contract, she was told that due to Covid-19 they could not keep her.

Her nephew Lyle married in December and Susan was trying to find a unique present for him. She came across painted plates but could not find one that she liked.

Susan then thought that she could make something similar so bought some plain crockery and different colours of paints and got to work testing the best methods.

She painted them a cake stand, using their initials and the theme of mistletoe in the design.

She posted about her new venture on social media; orders came flooding in and to date she has completed more than 420 pieces.

Each design takes three days to make: painting the design on day one, putting it into the oven on day two and then putting a protective coating over it on day three.

The name for her business comes from the 1980s song Echo Beach by Martha and the Muffins.

A line in the song about a “boring” job as an office clerk resonated with her and now, after more than 30 years of office environments, she is happy with her current occupation, which not only allows her to be flexible but help Kyle during his home-schooling.

Susan, who previously lived in East Saltoun, said she was delighted that Mr Paphitis thought her business was good and had potential, describing it as a massive boost to both her and the business.

She is now in the process of launching a new product which hopes to raise funds for Cancer Research UK for Children and Young People, a charity close to her heart as she was diagnosed and successfully treated for breast cancer in 2016.