Primary school children are in for a muddy good time thanks to a community group supporting military veterans.

Croft Primary School, near Darlington, has taken delivery of three mud kitchens, lovingly made by The Viking Boat Company, which helps ex-military personnel overcome post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, stress, and isolation.

The community interest company was initially established at Phoenix House, run by Help For Heroes, at Catterick Garrison, but has since relocated to premises behind Darlington Timber Supplies.

The group’s headline project is to build a full-scale Viking longboat, but service-users also make a wide variety of smaller woodwork items.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Viking Boat com[any directors Bob Marshall and Kevin Blackburn, with Dr David Russell and pupils

The mud kitchens were delivered to Croft Primary School after a connection was made between the group’s founder, Bob Marshall, and retired GP David Russell, whose wife, Alison, is chair of governors at the school.

David, a keen woodwork enthusiast, had started visiting the group’s base for advice on some of his own projects, and to use specialist equipment. He was so impressed with the group that he made donations each time he went and decided to take Alison on a visit.

Bob said: “We started chatting and, when I heard about the wonderful work the school does in the local community, I thought it would be the perfect home for the three mud kitchens.

“They were made by our service-users, not just as a practical exercise, but for children to have fun, and I know they’ll be well used at this lovely village school.”

David said: “I’d heard about the Viking Boat Company, so I went down to meet Bob and his team, and they were incredibly helpful. As a retired GP, I can say that what they do to help members of the armed forces is better than any medication I could ever prescribe.”

Gemma McManus, Special Needs Coordinator at the school, added: “Our children love to be outdoors, and these beautifully made mud kitchens will give them endless fun, with creative play that allows them to use their imagination.

“They were a big hit as soon as we set them up in different parts of the school, so we’re so grateful to the Viking Boat Company and the service-users for their kindness.”

Alison has included news about the donation of the mud kitchens in the school newsletter, with an appeal to support the Viking Boat Company.