A BUSINESSWOMAN is aiming to lure young visitors to the Lake District with the launch of a Bownessie brand based on the famous Windermere ‘monster’.

Naz Craig has created a whole range of products associated with the creature – depicted as a friendly green character – including a children’s colouring book, post card, soft toy, posters and a 6.5ft wooden Bownessie.

The former legal secretary has self-funded the project, which has involved her gaining property rights to the ‘Bownessie’ brand.

“When children go to Disneyland they get a Mickey Mouse, and I hope when they come to Windermere and Bowness they will pick up a Bownessie,” she said.

“I want to put some more fun into tourism for kids as I think that’s so important.

“Long-term I’d like to open a cafe and have a Bownessie trail – I just want to keep developing the idea.”

Miss Craig, the managing director of the Bownessie Trading Company, said she had always wanted to do something to attract tourists, but it was a spell of illness that gave her the inspiration.

“When I was in hospital last year my friend Robin, who is an artist, drew me a card with a fun Bownessie image on it and I loved it,” she said.

That friend was Robin Evans, of Kendal, who has helped ‘massively’ by designing all the Bownessie products.

“He’s been brilliant,” said Naz. “He understands what I say and has been magical in the way he has created everything.”

Bownessie has been made amphibious, complete with cap and rucksack to make him unique to the Lakes. “It was important he had a personality,” said Naz.

The giant green creature will feature outside the Windermere Tourist Information Centre, where managing director Mark Prada said: “I think it is great to see someone developing a quirky brand for Bownessie with a range of stunning products that should appeal to the family market.

“With the passion and drive that Naz has devoted to the concept, we couldn’t help but give our support.”

The first sighting of Bownessie was made in 2006 by university lecturer Steve Burnip and was reported in The Westmorland Gazette.

Bownessie has been ‘sighted’ several times but efforts to track him down by Crypto-Zoologists have so far proved fruitless.

The story has been covered globally and has brought TV crews and underwater scientists to the lake.

Merchandise and the website will be available from February 15. For details, see www.bownessiewindermere.co.uk