Chef cooks porridge for blog girl
A schoolgirl who has raised more than £100,000 to feed poverty-stricken children has enjoyed breakfast cooked by a celebrity chef as she prepares to travel to Malawi.
Nick Nairn made a special porridge breakfast for nine-year-old Martha Payne, who will travel to the African country next month to see how the £114,000 she has raised for the charity Mary's Meals is helping hungry youngsters.
Donations to Martha's JustGiving site flooded in after she was banned by her council from blogging about her meals at her school in Lochgilphead, Argyll and Bute. The schoolgirl was told she could no longer take photos of her school lunches for her NeverSeconds blog in June as media coverage apparently left catering staff fearing for their jobs.
But Argyll and Bute Council backtracked on its decision after a barrage of negative publicity and a backlash on social networking sites. The controversial ban led to thousands of donations flooding in to Martha's JustGiving site, which she set up to raise money for the Scottish charity which runs school feeding projects in communities around the world.
On her trip to Malawi next month she will see the kitchen shelter which has been built at Lirangwe School in Blantyre, Malawi, with some of the money raised, and will also meet children who will receive a daily meal from Mary's Meals for a whole school year thanks to the money raised.
She said: "I never dreamt we'd achieve so much. I can't stop thinking about all the children we're helping. Just 6p for Mary's Meals gives another hungry child a meal."
The charity said that the ongoing donations being received are also allowing Mary's Meals to provide a daily meal to thousands of other hungry children around the world, as every £10.70 donated provides enough to feed a child for a whole school year.
Martha and Mr Nairn chose a porridge breakfast on Tuesday as in Malawi, through Mary's Meals' largest project, more than half a million children are given a daily nutritious porridge-like dish every school day to attract them to the classroom. The pair previously met in June as part of a group to discuss school meals and food education.
Mr Nairn said: "I'm here to wish Martha every success on her travels to Malawi. She's achieved an amazing feat - raising huge sums for Mary's Meals to provide a daily nutritious meal for children in dire need overseas. She's also done a great job in raising awareness about what's on offer for school dinners here in Scotland.
"My mission is to get everyone more interested in what they eat - children and adults - and to get them eating well and cooking from scratch in schools and at home. This also means giving children top-quality school meals. Gaining knowledge about good food means - like Martha - questioning what's on your plate."