A MUM-of-two who turned bedtime stories into an expanding business is appealing for funds via the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter.

Kelly Elsworthy was recently shortlisted in the NatWest Venus Awards Dorset for her efforts in writing and publishing The Adventures of the Cuddle Pirate.

Her books started as stories which she told to her three-year-old son Jack and his nursery friends to encourage healthy eating.

The latest in the Cuddle Pirate series will be The Berry Bee, in which the nasty Sugar Shark and his gang enlist the help of the Candy Cat, who is cutting down trees as he produces fizzy pop.

Kelly, who was a finalist in the Daily Echo-backed Business Mother of the Year in the Venus Awards, said: “I am extremely passionate about healthy eating and I am always seeking new ways to educate and encourage my children to eat a healthier diet.

“As a result I developed the concept of The Adventures of the Cuddle Pirate and His Crew whilst creating stories for my then three-year-old son Jack and his nursery friends. The aim was to encourage them to think more about the food they eat.”

She added: “I want to encourage as many children as possible to think about the food they eat and encourage a healthier diet. I feel they will get both encouragement and enjoyment from the stories, aspiring to become healthy like the Cuddle Pirate and his crew.

“My vision is to publish further stories and bring products to life for parents and children alike – such as role-play toys that children can use to engage with the characters.

“I would love to be able to publish these into different languages too.”

She added: “On top of this, I would also like to introduce healthy children's party boxes, life size characters for children's parties and cooking courses for parents, particularly in more deprived areas of the UK.”

If she reaches £13,000 on Kickstarter, Kelly will also be able to self-publish another Cuddle Pirate book, The Mango Monkey.