Pupils were delighted to have an extra special customer join in with the celebrations at their school’s new shop.

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Norfolk-born TV presenter Jake Humphrey arrived to big cheers when he visited Harford Manor School’s Close Links shop in St John’s Close, Lakenham, yesterday. The school for children with special education needs set up its shop project a couple of years ago and it has been such a success it has moved to a bigger site next door to its original shop.

Jake - who cut the ribbon to officially open the new shop and spent time meeting all the pupils - said he was really impressed with the school’s retail achievements and the great opportunities the shop gave the students.

He said: “I think it is fantastic. What is really unique is that as well as raising money the shop is giving these young people vital life skills. Here they help with the prices and sorting things out and deal with customers.

“From meeting these young people it is clear that they have got great social skills and confidence and I think it is fantastic. This is a charity shop for young people and the project really puts the young people at the heart of what they are doing. It is their shop and they clearly feel real ownership of it. It is brilliant.”

Headteacher Paul Eteson said the school was delighted Jake was able to join in with the shop’s celebrations. He described the shop’s success as “immense,” paid tribute to everyone involved, and said the bigger store means more pupils can now take part.

“The simple brief has always been to provide opportunities and experiences for the young people with complex needs who attend the school,” he said.

“We are all so proud of the young people we have at the school. We continue to have a role in our local area and to demonstrate to everyone that having a learning difficulty does not mean that you cannot take part or have a role in the wider life of the community.”

He said he especially wanted to thank the Friends of Harford Manor Association and the volunteers who help make the shop possible.

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