THE legacy of talented chef Matt Campbell looks set to inspire a new generation of school children thanks to a major project launched in his memory yesterday (Wednesday).

The 29-year-old collapsed 3.7 miles from the finish line of this year's London Marathon and his untimely death led to an outpouring of generosity, raising £440,000 for the Brathay Trust.

With the approval of Matt's mum, Carmen, and brother, Josh, the Ambleside charity has drawn up an ambitious programme to improve the lives of hundreds of young people by building their resilience to cope at difficult times.

The Resilience 3.7 project was launched in bright sunshine at Matt's former secondary school, Kirkbie Kendal, where 500 pupils cheered as they set off to run 3.7 miles around the playing fields.

Donning orange wristbands with the slogan #MILESFORMATT, the boys and girls then took their pick from activities designed to push them out of their comfort zones and try something new - the key theme of the Resilience 3.7 project.

From healthy cooking to rugby, digital art, music and golf, the zones showcased the kind of activities Resilience 3.7 will offer. "It does show Matt's legacy is very real," said Brathay chief executive Godfrey Owen.

So far the project has been launched in two schools - Kirkbie Kendal and Dallam at Milnthorpe - and will see groups of young people nominated to spend a day a week away from academic studies, with a residential break at Brathay during the eight weeks.

Sharing his skills at the launch was golf professional Sam Matthews. He told the Gazette his childhood friend Matt "would have loved" the project, saying: "He was very positive and open-minded about stuff, hence his reasons for doing so many different things. He always took an opportunity when there was one there. That's why he was hardly ever in a kitchen, he always wanted to be out exploring."

Another close friend of Matt, chef Martin Frickel from Forest Side at Grasmere, was on hand to prepare green juice shots and apple-and-blackberry energy balls with Stephen Hall, of Sedbergh food company Bakes and Balls. Martin said it was "amazing" to be part of the project.

Kirkbie Kendal food teacher Natalie Oddie described Matt as "a brilliant cook" whose success on Masterchef: The Professionals was inspiring. "That's such a big thing for us to be able to say he came here he was one of us," she said. "It took your breath away to see what he had achieved. I couldn't possibly take the credit for what he did but I'm very proud of what he became."

Head of PE Dean Barker described Matt as "the kind of guy everyone wants to teach", saying: "He was one of those thoroughly nice kids everyone has really fond memories of."

High Sheriff of Cumbria Simon Berry said Matt had been "setting the world on fire" with his cooking talent talent and had been running in memory of his late father, Martin - a friend of Mr Berry's. "So it's a double tragedy," he said, "yet out of this horrible situation we have this amazing programme."