WHAT is Northern Ireland Minister Jeff Rooker doing visiting two Herefordshire Schools?

The minister was back in Weobley to open a community centre seven years after he came to the village as Jeff Rooker MP, a minister of state at the Department of Agriculture.

His first visit in the autumn of 1998 was to open the first ever school-heating system in the country fuelled by locally grown wood.

The renewable energy project provides heating for both Weobley Primary and High Schools.

His interest was such that the former MP for Birmingham Perry Barr came back to Weobley for the opening of the facility.

The community building, costing £100,000, provides a range of activities, including a breakfast, after-school and holiday club, an advice surgery and adult learning and careers advice.

Weobley Primary and High Schools, which have a total of 570 students, are part of an "extended schools" initiative in which they are integrated in the local community and offer a range of facilities to local people.

Both are also designated "Eco Schools".

Students and staff at Weobley High School are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping to hear in the next few weeks that a bid for a "Green Flag" award has been successful.