A DORSET-based celebrity chef joined students in the kitchen at an autism school in Christchurch.

Lesley Waters joined students in getting creative in the kitchen at the official unveiling of Autism Unlimited’s Portfield School Sixth Form.

Visitors at the official opening included Councillor Vivienne Charrett, Mayor of Christchurch.

Everyone had the chance to take a guided tour of the new building, meet teachers and enjoy entertainment from the talented musicians of the Portfield School Sixth Form band.

Lesley Waters joined in the fun, staging healthy food masterclasses with students in the kitchen.

Lesley, who is a regular on ITV’s James Martin’s Saturday Morning and Ready Steady Cook, previously supported Autism Unlimited’s Big Brekkie campaign and has hosted parents and carers of students at her Dorset cookery school.

She said: “It was wonderful to spend time with Portfield School Sixth Form students and tutors at their amazing new building and to share some tips on ways they can cook simply and healthily in their fabulous new kitchen.

“I am proud to be able to show my appreciation for that work. It’s deeply satisfying for me to see how the new sixth form is helping young autistic people to transition so successfully into adulthood.”

Amongst the students cooking with Lesley was Luke, who said: “Lesley is really nice and a brilliant cook. I have learned some very important tips from her today.”

Portfield School Sixth Form was designed in consultation with students and built with the support of BCP Council.

Leader of the Council Vikki Slade joined the guests in touring the building and meeting staff and students.

In addition to the impressive training kitchen, the building has modern tutor rooms, workshop areas, social areas and outdoor space.

The kitchen, outdoor trampoline, sensory garden, and recording studio, along with the other facilities, were made possible thanks to a number of grants and individual donors, including a £10,000 donation from the Talbot Village Trust.

Siún Cranny, CEO of Autism Unlimited, said: “Portfield School Sixth Form aims to nurture talent and foster success and fulfilment in adulthood.

“Our new building is an environment in which young people thrive, and it’s been wonderful to open its doors to the public and show people what we do."