A BLACKBURN-born author who has helped more than 17,000 publish their work has been nominated for an award.

Christina Gabbitas has been shortlisted for the 'Entrepreneur For Good' accolade at the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards'.

The 49-year-old, who runs Poems and Pictured Ltd, has written several books aimed at children.

The former Blackburn College student helped thousands of children publish their own poems through her national writing initiative, set up in 2013.

Aimed at children aged seven to 11, youngsters were encouraged to write an eight-line rhyme, which was published through children's charity, Barnardo's.

The former St Luke and St Phillips CE Primary School pupil makes her living from writing with her popular Felicity Fly series of picture rhyming books, as well as campaigning to get more children involved in reading festivals.

She has written several informative titles, including 'Share Some Secrets' which was aimed at children aged five to eight addressing the difference between good and bad secrets.

The mum-of-two said she was very pleased to be nominated.

She said: "I was so happy when I found out, I couldn't believe it.

"To be highlighted for something that is my passion is very fulfilling, writing is something I always wanted to do.

"I first started writing my stories when my children were babies. I put them away and thought I would do something with them later.

"When I was younger I was very shy and never believed in myself.

"I have changed my mindset now, I wrote these books and thought I would give it a go.

"If I fail then its better to fail and not to have tried.

"I love what I do. I visit many schools and encourage children to read and write.

"The testimony you get from the children is second to none. It is so uplifting."

The former fundraising manager had a background in business and finance before she decided to publish.

Creator of the awards, Francesca James, said: "We have been inundated with some incredible entries this year, and all shortlisted applicants should be extremely proud of themselves.

"This year has seen a record number of entrants and we’ve been absolutely blown away by the strength and diversity of applications."

"We cannot wait to celebrate entrepreneurship across Great Britain with them, and put a spotlight on the incredible talent within the British entrepreneur ecosystem."

The award ceremony will take place in Manchester on Tuesday, November 14.