A Saffron Walden primary school is one of seven schools to win a share of £60,000 from Stansted Airport's eco-garden competition.

Primary schools within 10 miles of the airport were encouraged to submit designs for gardens or green spaces that improve biodiversity.

St Mary's Primary School was one of the schools awarded a share of the cash prize.

The airport initially offered a prize fund of £45,000 for the competition, but due to the high quality of entries decided to award grants to all shortlisted schools, raising the total to £60,000.

Saffron Walden Reporter: St Mary's Primary School in Saffron Walden was named one of the winners of Stansted Airport's eco-garden competitionSt Mary's Primary School in Saffron Walden was named one of the winners of Stansted Airport's eco-garden competition (Image: Celia Bartlett)

Pupils' designs were assessed by a panel, which included representatives of the airport's corporate social responsibility team and the Stansted Airport Community Trust.

Various layouts were submitted, including proposals for ponds, outdoor classrooms, sensory gardens, food growing areas, and accessible green spaces.

St Mary's Primary head teacher Chris Jarmain said: "We were absolutely delighted to receive this exciting grant to create an eco-garden for our school.

"This award will give our pupils the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of managing and maintaining a garden and its tools safely.

"It will also help the children to understand where food comes from and how to eat healthily and sustainably. 

"This new area will boost the physical and mental wellbeing of the children as well as their resilience, allowing them to connect with nature in all weathers.

"Thanks to our Forest School Leader and Sports Leader, Mrs McInnes as well as our Year 6 Eco Committee for putting in all of the hard work on this incredibly important project, which will have so many benefits for our school children for years to come.

"A truly long-lasting legacy!"

Uttlesford district councillor Garry LeCount visited the school on Friday to announce their success.

He said: "It was a pleasure to be invited to St Mary’s and announce that they had been chosen as the winners – it was a lovely surprise for the children.

"A competition like the eco-garden is an excellent way for young people to learn about the importance of protecting the environment and encouraging biodiversity."

The airport's community engagement manager Daniel Burford praised the schools who took part for their "brilliant ideas".