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A teacher who was hailed a 'hero' after delivering 7,500 meals to local kids during the last lockdown has been out on his rounds again in the third national lockdown - and says he is 'horrified' by this week's free school meals scandal.
When assistant head teacher Zane Powles, 48, heard about the new lockdown last week, he got straight into his car to go to Tesco. He loaded a trolley up with school-funded food for his team to package up.
Mr Powles works for Western Primary School in Grimsby and his efforts didn't go unnoticed last time round, with the heroic teacher being awarded an MBE.
Speaking to The Mirror, Mr Powles said: "The original packed lunch they provide is rubbish in my opinion. I would be horrified if my kids were getting that!
"I can't believe a company is profiting from our vulnerable children."
He thinks that 'poverty is just round the corner' for people in the local area.
He explained: "Some homes I've seen have no furniture in them, with a mattress on the floor.
"I am worried about the effect this pandemic is having on some of our most vulnerable children."
Mr Powles was a Grenadier Guard for ten years before training to become a teacher when he was in his 30s.
He explained: "I left school with no qualifications aged 16 and joined the army.
"So I tell our kids it's never too late.
"I've been a bin man, a milkman, an HGV driver, a factory worker".
While he's out and about, he gives local parents advice on how to home school their kids without getting stressed, as well as checking up on kids the teachers say they're worried about.
He also gives out donated laptops for children to complete their school work and dongles so they can get online.
He hopes that other teachers will follow Western Primary's lead, adding: "I hope other schools will do the same.
"I'm so lucky to work in such an amazing team at Western and I'm proud we are a local authority school that goes over and above every time for our children.
"Our motto is 'It is the school that cares' and I think we've proved that!"
During the first lockdown, the determined teacher walked 7.5 miles a day for 17 weeks, totalling over 600 miles to deliver the meals.
He estimates he carried roughly four tonnes of food during that time - but said it was all 'well worth it' after seeing the smiles on his pupils' faces.
Mr Powles said: "I'm just doing my job at the end of the day. My role is to help nurture and educate children, and to take care of them.
"Children are the most important people in the world and we must protect them at all costs."
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