Green-fingered gardener raises money to help the NHS during Covid-19

During lockdown, many of us have used the extra time at home to take up a hobby.

Zac with plants

For Zac Painter, 10, this has meant getting green fingers and growing plants, all to raise money for his school and the NHS.

At the start of lockdown Zac, who attends Whitley and Eggborough Community Primary, decided to try to grow some seeds that were given to him by his grandad. So parents Mandy and Dean Painter bought a mini greenhouse for Zac and they spent the afternoon planting them in the hope they’d start growing.

Zac opened the greenhouse and watered them every day, as well as learning about the different parts of the plants as part of learning at home and dissecting them as well.

His mum Mandy said: “As the seedlings got bigger we realised there were far too many for us. We had a think and Zac suggested he could sell them to raise money to help with coronavirus.

“From there it took off more than I imagined. I went and asked a local Facebook site for any donations and we were overwhelmed.

“My husband picked up the donations from villagers, family and also Miss Langridge – Zac’s head teacher.

“The owner of a local shop contacted us and asked if we would like the stall to be outside his shop to attract more customers.”

She added Zac continued his home learning by making posters for the sale, both by hand and on the computer. The plant sale was held on Saturday, 30 May, run by Zac and his cousin, Harry.

In total, they raised £367.50. Zac’s aunt’s work agreed to match the donation, meaning £735 will be split between Whitley and Eggborough Community Primary School and Doncaster Bassetlaw Teaching Hospital Charity.

Mandy added: “I asked him why he wanted to fundraise and he said he wanted to raise money to help people get better from Coronavirus and also for basketball posts at school.

“He said he feels really proud and is glad he has helped other people. He loves fundraising.”

Sarah Langridge, head at Whitley and Eggborough Community Primary, added: “We are delighted and very proud of the efforts made by Zac and his cousin for both the school and Doncaster Hospital. 

“It is fantastic that he has also gained lots of knowledge and skill during his horticultural growing experience - hopefully something that will stay with him through life. 

“This is a clear example of how diverse home learning can create so many different advantages for our young people. Zac is also a true example of our school CHaS (Caring, Helping and Sharing) values. 

“So many people will benefit from his great achievement - the children in school when they play basketball, the people at the hospital and also the people who have bought his produce.   

“I know I am looking forward to the butternut squash, gherkins and lettuce that I have added to my own collection at home."

Stuart Carlton, North Yorkshire County Council’s Corporate Director of Children and Young People’s Services, said: “Although the pandemic may have meant some children aren’t at school, it doesn’t mean they’ve missed out on any learning.

“This is a great example of a student taking the initiative to learn at home by growing plants – and at the same time, raising money for the NHS and his school.

“It’s wonderful to see how children and their families have adapted to learning during this time and many valuable skills will have been gained.”

This story was published 17 June 2020