THE last eight years have been quite a journey for Hampshire’s Melissa Edmunds.

In that time she has gone from working for the police to an internationally acclaimed, award-winning inventor.

And now she has been named as the winner of two top European awards.

The accolades which were presented at a glamorous award bash in Stockholm, recognised her Safesip drink cover.

The brightly-coloured covers, made from silicon, can stretch over most glasses, cups and cans and stop spillages.

Potential The 47-year-old from Ringwood came up with the idea to stop her son, David, spilling his drinks.

And she saw its potential for use in hospitals when her father was taken to hospital, and one of her relatives was struck with a muscle-wasting illness.

Despite the fact that she did not have any design or product development training, she eventually left her job as a business development officer for South Wales Police to carry on the project.

She said: “The key to Safesip is that is a universal product that helps those with disabilities or who are sick to assist them to drink with dignity, can be used by children to stop drinks spilling, and also to stop drinks being contaminated with insects or drugs.”

The product’s potential has now been transformed into success since it was launched for sale in the UK last year.

It is now being exported to Europe, America and Australia, and is set to be sent to new countries next year.

Melissa says she will also conduct trials at two hospitals which are interested in using it to help reduce dehydration and reduce costs.

Safesip gave Melissa a runner-up place in the British Female Inventor of the Year, while she won three major awards at the International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva.

She was nominated for the Lone Inventor award at the Bi-Annual European Women Inventors and Innovators Network, and after a two-day process in which she had to undergo a Dragons Den-style grilling, she was named as the winner of both the Silver Innovator prize and a special recognition award.

Afterwards, she said: “I didn’t expect to win. There were medical inventions and people from big companies against me, so I was really chuffed when I won.

“It’s been a long journey to get to this point, but there’s still lots more I want to do.”