SOUTH Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson branched out from his high-profile role as Government Defence Secretary to help schoolchildren plant trees in Kinver as part of a Rotary Club project.

The Conservative MP for the Kinver area donned his wellington boots this morning (Friday) for a visit to Kingsford Country Park where he helped youngsters from Brindley Heath Junior School to plant saplings as part of a worldwide initiative, by Rotary International, which aims to see more than 1.2 million trees planted across the globe - one for each Rotary Club member.

Taking a brief breather from his ministerial duties - Mr Williamson was more than happy to get his hands dirty and got busy digging and hammering in the young sweet chestnut trees at the beauty spot, part of the National Trust owned Kinver Edge, where a total of 300 ash, beech and spruce trees - supplied by the Woodland Trust - were being planted this week.

He told the News: "It's such a fantastic thing to see what Rotary are doing and it's brilliant that Brindley Heath Junior School have come out and given it so much support."

Clive Corbett, president of the Rotary Club of Kinver, said the initiative had proved "very successful" and he added: "It seemed like a good way of working with the school to put something here for the future."

The club has 45 members but agreed with the National Trust to plant 300 trees as part of the project, which has been funded with cash set aside for a worthy cause following a charity garden party in 2016.

Jason Willetts, headteacher at Brindley Heath, said the children had "thoroughly enjoyed planting the trees" with the help of National Trust volunteers and he added: "It's been an experience many of them have never had before."

Nick Geoghegan, the Rotary Club of Kinver's chairman of community and vocation, said the initiative had been "an absolutely tremendous effort by all the Rotarians, friends and most importantly the children" and he added: "We're very thankful to Gavin Williamson for sparing the time to come along."