A WARTIME nickname given to a former North-East student's grandmother has provided the inspiration for a new business.

Ellie Fox has launched clothing boutique Ticky Turner, in Middlesbrough.

Ms Fox, a Teesside University television and film production graduate, said the business' name stems from her grandmother Ivy, who was called Ticky by her seamstress mother, who made her a dress from material similar to the striped ticking fabric traditionally used to cover mattresses.

The 22-year-old said her venture would include designing and making clothes, customising shoes and working with a bespoke corset maker.

She said: “I used to make clothes with my grandma, who sadly died a few years ago. “After graduating I was keen to set up my own business while also drawing on what I learned from the degree.

“Our lecturer Mick Stockton really got us to think about life after graduation and gave us some great help and advice in how to write a business plan, which really helped me in terms of pitching my business idea.”

Ms Fox was able to put what she had learned into practice after literally jumping into a lift alongside representatives from Virgin Money and Project North-East who were visiting Teesside University.

Impressed by her impromptu pitch, they told Ms Fox to apply for funding support and she went on to become one of the North-East's first recipients of a Start-Up Loan, aimed at helping young entrepreneurs.

While completing her degree, she was also invited to speak to Virgin boss, Sir Richard Branson.