Pupils learning about clean energy will now be able to experience it first hand after fundraisers smashed the target for Fitzmaurice Primary School’s solar panel project.

The team needed £16,000 to buy 40 solar panels for the Bradford on Avon school and after only eight months’ fundraising, £17,400 has been raised, with more to come.

Businesses, organisations and the public donated enough to buy 46 panels, – expected to be installed over the summer holidays, subject to planning permission.

Richard Craft from Climate Friendly Bradford on Avon has led the project team and said: “It seems to have fired the imagination of the whole community. They have got behind us and really supported us.

“The lovely thing is it has brought people into the school who have never been or had a connection with it.”

Christine Giles runs Christine’s Sustainable Supermarket in the town and has three children who attend Fitzmaurice.

She organised an auction of promises on Friday in St Margaret’s Hall raising £3,500.

“The auction went on and on. People were really enjoying it,” she said. “Some things went for more than they were worth and a few things didn’t.

“Two women bid for a date with Gavin Henson (Bath Rugby player) which raised £910, and he is going to take them both out individually.”

Fitzmaurice is part of the 10:10 Solar Schools scheme and the solar panels are expected to save about 4.5 tonnes of CO2 a year.

Headteacher Tracey Dunn said: “We are so grateful and indebted to the solar schools team, who made it happen.

“We will benefit from being an environmentally friendly school.

“We track our energy through the eco school group so it will be interesting for the school to see the panels are installed impact on bills.”