FORMER town clerk Karen Douglas’s paperwork is a little more colourful these days.

The 45-year-old from Helmshore has ditched agendas and minutes and turned to art prints, greeting cards and wrapping paper with the launch of Comfy Marmalade.

Karen, who used to keep Whitworth Town Council briefed, was looking for a new avenue in 2015, away from the world of local government.

And after a brief diversion with her own lifestyle blog, the ex-stage manager and marketing boss was able to craft her own niche, with a little help from her friends.

Her fledgling venture started life after a conversation with Irwell Vale based graphic designer Caroline Ogden.

She said: “I’d taught myself to use the Photoshop computer programme during my time as town clerk and Caroline offered to tutor me in the Illustrator programme too.

“After much faffing and mistake making I finally began to see a style emerging, and I had a bit of a ‘lightbulb’ moment when I realised that my designs would lend themselves well to cards and prints,

“It took longer than expected to nail exactly what I wanted to do but I launched my Comfy Marmalade products at the end of September and so far things, and sales, are going very well.”

Karen, who was also formerly employed by the Octagon Theatre in Bolton, has so far managed to secure deals to sell her wares at two venues, Bolthole Gifts in Rawtenstall and Hearts for Homes in Ramsbottom.

She is currently on the lookout for further outlets.

She was also able to call upon the talents of two fellow Rossendale Valley creatives to help her along the way.

Caroline Summer Johnston, who runs her own photography business in Irwell Vale, was able to assist with digital illustration mentoring and Hannah Wells, who runs Ramsbottom’s Amongst The Trees, was able to advise on the necessary eco-credentials for her work, which she describes as “colourful, fun, simple and bold with a retro-inspired bent”.