DELIGHTED pupils at a special needs school were treated to a complementary meal by a kind-hearted manager who was touched by their previous visit to his restaurant.

When a group of youngsters from Lexden Springs School visited Wimpy, in High Street, Colchester, staff could only afford to buy them drinks and snacks.

Impressed by the pupils' exemplary behaviour and inspired into action, owner Raj Bhangal decided to invite them all back for a full meal on the house.

It was smiles all round when the pupils returned on Wednesday and enjoyed their much-anticipated treat.

Mr Bhangal, who has owned and managed the restaurant for 14 years, said he was only too happy to make the gesture.

"As they didn't have enough money for a full meal in my heart I thought it would be nice to do something for them," he said.

"I understand that the pupils have learning difficulties and I thought it would be good to show that we care.

"It's just something different for them to look forward to and I was happy to offer."

As a further bonus Mr Bhangal, 32, has decided to donate £250 to the school.

Grateful teacher Nicky Peters said: "There was a frenzy of excitement, they were so looking forward to it.

"The manager approached us when we left and said how wonderfully behaved the students were and how it had been a pleasure to have them.

"He invited us all back for a complementary meal.

"To be honest you rarely see this kind of generosity from a chain restaurant in this day and age."

She added: "From an educational point of view we are looking at making choices and talking about nutrition - how burgers and this sort of thing shouldn't be eaten every day, it is a treat."

Nine pupils from Emerald class, aged between 17 and 18, were treated to the meal, with Mrs Peters expressing her gratitude to staff.

"A lot of these visits can help with working on the students' independence skills," she said.

"This can teach them how to behave, how to have the proper table manners, looking at the cost of things.

"We are big on engagement, we want to have the students out in the real world doing real things."