DINNER ladies have been handed a national award for their fresh and delicious school meals.

And the council celebrated their talented cooks' achievement with an afternoon tea at the town hall.

More than 11,000 delicious dinners are served every weekday across the town including popular homemade spaghetti bolognese and fruity chicken curry as well as treats like sticky toffee pudding and butternut squash cake.

Pupils have also had a go at making meals from scratch, taking cookery classes and visiting farms to find out where ingredients are grown.

The Soil Association has handed the school dinner team a bronze Food for Life Served Here award in recognition of their hard work.

Cllr Jean Carter, executive board member for children's services said: “The Food for Life award is an independent award scheme that means you can guarantee the food on your children’s plate is of a very high standard.

“More than 75 per cent of dishes on the menu are freshly prepared daily on site. The award is a result of the hard work and commitment from the council’s school meals service.

"I am delighted that the school meals service has been awarded the bronze standard mark which assures that Warrington’s primary school children are eating fresh, healthy and nutritional food.

“If you have a child in reception, year one or year two, your child is entitled to enjoy a school meal for free every day.

"There are many benefits in your child having a school meal, think about the time saved in the mornings not having to prepare lunch, it encourages children to try new foods and the meals are balanced and healthy.”

To win the award, school kitchens are rigorously inspected and must serve food which is free from unhealthy additives as well as recognising the importance of animal welfare.

Lizzi Testani, from the Soil Association, said: “I'd like to personally congratulate the whole school meal team at Warrington Borough Council.

"They have worked really hard to achieve this award. To transform a service offering thousands of meals a day and now offer better food sourcing and more cooking from scratch is fantastic.”