A COOKERY scheme pioneered at a Nelson school to combat childhood obesity has been so successful that it is being rolled out across the rest of the country.

Marsden Community Primary School was one of two schools in Lancashire to set up a cookery club as part of the Let's Get Cooking' pilot scheme.

The scheme has proved so successful that the Big Lottery Fund has given £20million to set up 5,000 more Let's Get Cooking' clubs across the rest of the country.

It is hoped that the clubs will be up and running by Autumn 2007. The scheme is designed to ensure that the next generation of children are given the cookery skills to help stop the UK's obesity crisis.

Marsden School set up the cookery clubs in January. These included the Father and Kids Together' club.

Although some of the fathers were initially reluctant to learn to cook, the club has proved to be one of the most popular sessions and the Let's Get Cooking' club has been oversubscribed.

Children attend for 10 weeks learning to cook recipes including smoothies, sandwiches, chicken pitta pockets, mini quiches, scone pizzas and banana cakes.

The scheme is being led by the School Food Trust along with other well-known organisations including the Prince's Trust and Magic Outcomes.

They will spearhead projects aimed at teenagers, schools and communities in areas of high deprivation and encourage high sustainable support from businesses.

Prue Leith, Chair of the School Food Trust, said: "Let's Get Cooking will revive cooking on a national scale, by helping people to learn new cooking skills and encouraging those parents who have lost the motivation to see how important this is to their families health and behaviour.

"The schools in Lancashire have been a prime example of how this idea works in practice and will provide an inspiration to others wanting to set up cooking clubs."

Celebrity chef Brian Turner, who is backing the campaign, said: "I hope parents and kids really get into the spirit of it and really make the most of this opportunity. Wouldn't it be wonderful if, in 10-15 years time, we had a generation of amateur chefs cooking great tasting, healthy food with their families. Lancashire is already leading the way."