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Lunch blogger's photos ban lifted
A ban on a nine-year-old girl blogger taking photographs of her school dinners has been lifted after sparking widespread controversy.
Martha Payne was told she could no longer take the photos to illustrate her NeverSeconds blog, which has notched up more than two million views in just six weeks and won the support of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
She said she was "sad" not to be able to carry on her daily reviews of the meals served for lunch at her school's cafeteria in Lochgilphead, Argyll.
Her father Dave said the decision, taken by Argyll and Bute Council, was "a shame" as his daughter was being forced to end a blog which had already raised £3,000 for charity. But the council backed down on the decision after publicity in the national media.
Council leader Roddy McCuish told BBC Radio 4's World at One: "I have just instructed senior officials to withdraw the ban on photos from the school dining hall. It is a good thing to do, to change your mind, and I have certainly done that."
News of the photo ban sparked a massive surge in interest in Martha's blog. By lunchtime the story was one of the most talked about topics on Twitter and NeverSeconds had attracted more than 2.75 million page views.
Martha's blog gives a score out of 10 to each meal, a "health rating" and even the number of hairs found in each meal - only one so far. It impressed Jamie Oliver, who tweeted: "Shocking but inspirational blog. Keep going. Big love from Jamie x."
Martha has used the site to raise money for Mary's Meals, a charity which runs school feeding projects in communities around the world where poverty and hunger prevent children from gaining an education.
Donations through her page on the JustGiving website on Friday rocketed from £3,000 to almost £20,000. As they passed the £16,000 mark, a Mary's Meals spokesman said she had raised enough money to build a kitchen for a school in Malawi.
Mr McCuish said he had not yet been able to inform Martha of the lifting of the photo ban, but had a meeting arranged with Mr Payne next Thursday to discuss "a way forward".