The owner of a north-east farm shop providing daily lunches for dozens of local children has thanked the people who helped her keep the scheme running.
Michelle Clark, who runs the Kemnay Farm Shop, estimates she and her team fed 60-70 kids in the town every day for 14 weeks.
The initiative has now come to an end, with a big barbecue held on Friday to mark the occasion – treating 110 children to burgers and ice-cream.
Michelle, 51, admitted she had no idea the scheme was going to last as long as it did when she started it in March.
And the project even drew the attention of the Duchess of York, who donated £1,100 to the farm shop as well as providing recipe packs and treats of shortbread and yoghurt.
Michelle said: “It was something I saw on Facebook, and I thought that’s something I could do as well, and it would make such a difference to these kids.
“But I can’t believe how much of a difference it’s made.
“The amount of people that have got in touch with me to say it’s really helped them get through the lockdown, it’s been part of their lockdown routine, they could walk to the farm shop and get their lunch.”
She added: “It’s a lot of credit to a lot of people, and especially to Leigh Barker and Shirley Dow. They’re the girls who are in the shop most of the time.
“Leigh came to us when the schools stopped, because she was a school cook, and she’s been doing most of the cooking for the kids as well.”
Jill Thomson, 41, a furloughed major emergency management instructor for Petrovac from Craigearn, was one of the volunteers who helped to keep the Kemnay kids fed.
She said: “I’ve admired Michelle and her team, and how hard they’ve worked over the entire lockdown period. I’m glad to be a small part of it.
“If it wasn’t for Michelle and her tribe of girls this would never have happened.”
As well as donating money, the Duchess of York also dedicated a story reading session on her YouTube channel to children at primary schools in the area.
A spokesman for the Duchess said: “The Duchess is so happy to be able to carry on helping with what she hopes have been delicious school meals for all the children.
“She knows what a tough time it is for many people and is delighted to do her bit.
“As before, she hopes the children have also been watching and enjoying her storytime with Fergie and Friends every day on YouTube and reminds them that things will eventually get back to normal.”
Jill said: “The Duchess’s generosity has really touched the heart of Kemnay community.”
Looking back at the impact of the scheme, Michelle said: “I am so grateful to the girls who worked for me, they are absolute superstars and I could never have done this without them.
“Louise (Thomson), one of our volunteers, has made every delivery every day since we started. She’s been a superstar as well.
“I’ll miss the kids, actually. We’ve really got to know a lot of them, and they come in just beaming, and we get little cards brought in or boxes of chocolates, or just pictures they’ve coloured in for us.
“I’ll miss them, although I’m sure they’ll continue to come in and see me.”