HOME-grown fruit and vegetables will be on the curriculum at a Bridport Primary School thanks to a generous donation from a retired market gardener.

And a ground force of some 80 people spent a day preparing the site at St Mary’s School for the giant polytunnel given to the school’s garden.

Families, staff and volunteers turned out to the Raising the Polytunnel day on Sunday.

Clearing the ground, erecting the polytunnel, constructing doors, moving raised beds and rebuilding the fence and shed were the first steps, although the weekend’s wet and windy weather meant that the plastic cover could not be put on.

Lindsey Pritchard who is currently in charge of the garden, and Amanda Downes, the cook at the school, will steer the early stages of setting the crops up with the support of headteacher Helen Farmer and parent governor Ian Corke.

The polytunnel is the beginning of the Growing, Eating and Cooking programme at St Mary’s, supporting the development of the garden and its volunteers.

Cookery workshops will be revived using the produce from the school garden when available, as an on-going learning process for the children and their families.

On Sunday the kitchen team made lunch for the workers from ingredients provided by Framptons the Butchers, Leakers Bakery and Fruits of the Earth.

Music was provided by David Powell, Amy Van Zyl and Emma Batchelor with storytelling for the children by Martin Maudsley.

Transition Town Bridport, with Opera Circus through the HOME in Bridport project have lent their support for the gardening and fund- raiser Sarah Wilberforce, a member of Transition Town Bridport, has done much of the organisation of the polytunnel installation.

She said: “TTB are working to build a future for Bridport where we are not dependent on imported foods and fossil fuels, and if our children can learn to grow their own food the town will become far more resilient to future changes.

“The anonymous donor has expressed delight that his resource will be used, to teach children how to grow their own food.”