Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Dinner blogs girl releases book

Martha Payne, who posted photos of her school dinners on the NeverSeconds blog, has released a book of the same name

A father has described his pride in his enterprising daughter after she released a book about her efforts to raise more than £120,000 for charity through her controversial school meals blog.

Martha Payne, 10, hit the headlines earlier this year when her local council banned her from posting photographs of her school dinners online.

Following a media storm and support from across the globe, Argyll and Bute Council relented and Martha saw her fundraising total rocket.

Martha's father David Payne said: "I am very proud. It started as such a simple idea and it's amazing how social media can drive something.

"We never thought it was going to be anything more than a writing project and then it went viral and it went round the world. It (the book) is really about the emotional ride we went on."

In reference to the reaction from Argyll and Bute Council, Mr Payne reflected: "If they hadn't made the choice to ban it the response wouldn't have come in and the money for Mary's Meals wouldn't have been raised, so the cloud has a silver lining.

"I do feel that the way they handled things could've been done better and I still find it frustrating now. It was very upsetting to be treated the way that we were treated and I found it difficult to deal with that."

A trip to Malawi followed, where the Lochgilphead schoolgirl has funded a kitchen shelter through charity Mary's Meals.

She was accompanied by her parents, grandfather, brother and younger sister Polly, who thinks what Martha has achieved for Mary's Meals is "very amazing".

Named after her blog NeverSeconds, the book features Martha's story along with material from her blog and healthy eating tips for children.

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