For many people the idea of going to sleep in a room full of clowns would be the stuff of nightmares, but not 61 year-old Ortrud Kastaun from Germany who is recognised for the first time in the latest edition of Guinness World Records, 2012 book for having the Largest Collection of Clowns.

Ortrud, known to her friends as 'Orty', has been collecting model clowns for over 15 years, and in that time amassed 2,053 different models.

The collection is so large that Ortrud has had to move to a larger flat to accommodate them, and even set up her own museum at her home in Essen, Germany.

Ortrud goes to sleep each evening with hundreds of clowns smiling back at her.

The retired civil servant says that the clowns represent a transformation in her life, the collection being used as an aid to help her recover from the alcoholism she suffered from in her younger years: "15 years ago I was in a bad way. I was an alcoholic, in recovery receiving help. I remember being in therapy one day putting a jigsaw together. The image was of a clown in a jack-in-the-box. Something just clicked. From that I day on I begun collection clowns"

Ortrud, who is so passionate about clowns that she has one as a tattoo, admits that her friends find the collection unsettling: "My friends will often ask me if find the clowns scary and I say 'No'. I see the clowns as absolutely positive characters and as an aid to get over my alcoholism. I think my friends understand and respect my enthusiasm".

Ortrud Kastaun's Largest Collection of Clowns appears in the Guinness World Records 2012 out now.