YESTERDAY proved a turning point for little Megan Garbutt.

It marked the first day she was able to sit down with her classmates for lunch at her school.

The installation of a chairlift at Bankfields Primary School, Eston, near Middlesbrough, is now making life easier for Megan, who has brittle bones.

She has already learned how to operate the lift and the four steps to the school's split-level hall are no longer insurmountable.

Headteacher Sally Hirst said: "It has made a huge difference. Megan is a happy, popular, little girl, very sociable, but because our main building is split-level, there were problems.

"Before the chairlift was installed, Megan had to be pushed around the outside of the school building by a member of staff, in all weathers I am afraid, so she could come into the hall for PE activities, drama and music."

At lunchtimes, Megan was given her meals in a classroom with her carer, Carol Pinchbeck, and a few friends.

Yesterday, they gathered in the school hall to watch Megan use the £12,000 chairlift after cutting a ribbon.

Megan's mother, Angela, said: "The school's been so understanding , now the chairlift makes Megan's life at school so much better, too. She is so thrilled."