Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford has been made an MBE for services to vulnerable children in the UK during the coronavirus crisis – and dedicated the award to his mum.
The 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours list was due to be published in June, but was pushed back to enable nominations for people playing crucial roles during the first months of the crisis.
Rashford, 22, successfully lobbied the Government into a U-turn over its free school meals policy during lockdown, ensuring children in need would receive meals across the summer.
The England forward, who during September received the Professional Footballers’ Association merit award for his efforts, has since formed a child food poverty task force, linking up with some of the nation’s biggest supermarkets and food brands.
Reflecting on his MBE, Rashford vowed to continue fighting to protect the most vulnerable children and also paid tribute to his mother, Melanie.
“I’m incredibly honoured and humbled. As a young black man from Wythenshawe, never did I think I would be accepting an MBE, never mind an MBE at the age of 22,” Rashford said in a statement via Manchester United.
“This is a very special moment for myself and my family, but particularly my mum who is the real deserving recipient of the honour.
“The fight to protect our most vulnerable children is far from over.
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“I would be doing my community, and the families I have met and spoken with, an injustice if I didn’t use this opportunity to respectfully urge the Prime Minister to support our children during the October half-term with an extension of the voucher scheme, as the furlough scheme comes to an end and we face increased unemployment.
“Another sticking plaster, but one that will give the parents of millions of children in the UK just one less thing to worry about.
“Let’s stand together in saying that no children in the UK should be going to bed hungry. As I have said many times before, no matter your feeling or opinion, not having access to food is never the child’s fault.”