A MOTHER and son team are celebrating the launch of their first garden tool to market after almost five years of hard work and logistical headaches.

Carine Jeanrenaud, from Kirkby Lonsdale, got the idea for the Zig-Zag Hoe after seeing her friend, a retired farmer, hoeing his vegetable plot with a very unusual hoe.

She tried it out and was so impressed by the easy action and minimal soil resistance that she started to develop her own design concept.

"It was a very old tool and had most probably been handmade," said Carine. "I have searched but never found one like it."

Her next step was to find someone who could make a prototype, but finding a company prepared to make her dream a reality proved to be a lengthy and disheartening process.

"I approached five different companies who pretended they would show me something in a week or two, but clearly had no intention of doing anything," she said. "I really began to feel that I was asking the impossible, but it was just a hoe, not a jet engine."

Undeterred, Carine eventually found J Mortimer Fabrications in Kirkby Lonsdale on the recommendation of a friend.

From there, things rapidly accelerated as they set to work on her prototype, and further support arrived when her son, Quinn, joined the business.

"He was always right behind me urging me not to give up," she said. "He had recently finished A levels and decided to join me in developing the business. I was really happy to have someone else on board who also feels passionate about the Zig-Zag Hoe.

"When our first batch of 50 hoe heads were made it felt like the impossible had finally become a reality and this was the beginning of something exciting."

The pair enlisted the help of business advisor Nik Grimshaw at the Bay Business Centre in Morecambe who put the duo in touch with Charlie Rea, a manufacturing adviser with MAS, who in turn helped them find Tek-Neek , a family run sheet metal company in Blackburn.

The final challenge was to complete the hoe with sustainably sourced ash handles, which Carine and Quinn eventually achieved with the help of W E Holden at Laithes Mill near Penrith.

The hoe was launched at Holker Garden Festival at the weekend.