Page last updated at 20:37 GMT, Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Walkodile creator snaps up award

Nursery children using the Walkodile
Children are kept safely together when they go for a walk

An Aberdeenshire woman who invented a child safety device called the Walkodile has been named Scotland's top inventor.

Elaine Stephen, who teaches at Buchanhaven School, Peterhead, won 20,000 of support for her businesses.

The Walkodile resembles a crocodile and keeps children together as they stroll in harnesses on a flexible spine.

Mrs Stephen, 44, was honoured with the award for Entrepreneurial Spirit at the John Logie Baird Awards.

The winning inventor said: "I'm absolutely delighted. I wanted to create something to keep my school children safe when I had them out on a walking trip.

She encompasses what the John Logie Baird Awards are all about - entrepreneurship, passion and dedication
Isabell Majewsky
Award organisers GO Group

"It's the only time as a professional I feel vulnerable because it only takes a second for a child to run into the path of danger. They really are very safe in Walkodile."

Prof Malcolm Baird, John Logie Baird's son, said the awards had "proven that Scotland is brimming with potential".

Isabell Majewsky, chief executive of award organisers GO Group, said: "Elaine really impressed our judging panels, who saw pitches from hundreds of inventors and innovators.

"She encompasses what the John Logie Baird Awards are all about - entrepreneurship, passion and dedication."

The device is used both in the UK and abroad.

Mrs Stephen started seriously thinking of developing the Walkodile in 2002, but it took years to get it onto the shelves as it went through rigorous safety testing.

The award was made at the Glasgow Science Centre on Wednesday night.

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Youngsters do the Walkodile walk
15 May 08 |  Tayside and Central

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