A Mitcham primary school has received a grant of £30,000 from this newspaper group's charitable arm, making it one of the most successful applicants ever.

Haslemere Primary School was awarded the huge sum by the Gannett Foundation, which dishes out money twice a year to worthy organisations across the country.

The school in Haslemere Avenue has scooped the largest amount by far for this round of 43 grants, and plans to use the cash for an all-weather pitch.

Headteacher Bob Shearman said: "We're over the moon. It's going to make such a difference. We've extended our sports hours, and a multi-sports surface will allow us to do it all year round, and to roll it out to the rest of the community when a new children's centre is built next to our school."

He also credited local athlete and year 4 teacher Estle Viljoen as having put in a lot of the groundwork in applying for the grant and inspiring the children in sport.

Two other Merton organisations were also picked by the board of trustees from the 197 total applications, making this the only borough in south-west London to have successful applicants this time around.

Hatfeild School Association was awarded £2,300.

The primary school in Lower Morden Lane will put the money towards a sensory room to help children learn by using all their senses.

The South Mitcham Community Association scooped £4,700, which the centre in Cobham Court, Haslemere Avenue, will use to buy new tressel tables, chairs and storage trolleys.

Margaret Strayton, group editorial manager of Newsquest, which is owned by Gannett, said: "The trustees very carefully weigh each application, and are sympathetic to organisations which help a number of people in our various communities.

"In the case of Haslemere School, the trustees were impressed with the application. The all weather pitch which will allow children at the school to participate in a variety of athletic activity. This school is in an area not endowed with a large amount of open space, and the trustees believe this will not only benefit the school but the local community."