A blogger who was banned from taking photos of her school meals has raised thousands of pounds for children in Malawi.
Martha Payne, 9, launched the NeverSeconds
blog in April with the help of her dad to raise money for Mary’s Meals, a charity that helps to feed impoverished children around the world.
The blog showed photos of her school lunches at Lochgilphead Primary School, alongside a ‘food-o-meter’ and health rating.
One school lunch picture showed a drab-looking slice of pizza, one croquet, sweetcorn and a cupcake.
She wrote underneath: “I'd have enjoyed more than 1 croquet. I'm a growing kid and I need to concentrate all afternoon and I cant do it on 1 croquette. Do any of you think you could?”
It’s not all bad, though. The last lunch to be photographed was a macaroni cheese that she rated 10 out of 10 and said had helped cheer her up after injuring her hand.
In an entry on Thursday entitled “Goodbye”, Mary said she had been taken out of class by her head teacher and told she could no longer take photos of her school dinners because of a headline run in a newspaper.
The decision was reportedly taken by Argyll and Bute Council because catering staff were fearing for their jobs.
It came after the Daily Record featured Martha’s blog under the headline “Time to fire the dinner ladies..”
Martha wrote on her blog: “I only write my blog not newspapers and I am sad I am no longer allowed to take photos,” she wrote.
“I will miss sharing and rating my school dinners and I’ll miss seeing the dinners you send me too. I don’t think I’ll be able to finish raising enough money for a kitchen for Mary’s Meals either.”
The blog made international headlines and garnered praise from TV chefs Nick Nairn and Jamie Oliver.
In a turnaround, the BBC reports that council leader Roddy McCuish ordered that the ban be lifted.
The press coverage has helped Martha smash her fundraising target of £7,000, with donations on her JustGiving page standing at more than £22,000 by Friday afternoon.
A spokesperson for Mary’s Meals said that the funds raised by Martha would go towards a kitchen shelter at the Lirangwe Primary School in Blantyre, Malawi.
“Martha’s support for Mary’s Meals has been amazing and we are extremely grateful for everything that she has done to help us reach some of the hungriest children in the world,” the spokesperson said.
“We are overwhelmed by the huge response to her efforts today which has led to so many more people donating to her online donation page.
“Thanks to this fantastic support, Martha has now raised enough money to build a kitchen in Malawi for children receiving Mary’s Meals as part of our Sponsor A School initiative and has broken the record for hitting a Sponsor A School online fundraising target in the quickest amount of time.”