Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford has vowed to continue the fight to support vulnerable children after being made an MBE.
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, launched a high-profile campaign which resulted in the Government changing policy over its free school meals vouchers during lockdown, helping ensure children in need did not go hungry during the summer break.
The England forward has maintained his drive for social change by since forming a child food poverty task force, which has linked up with some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets and food brands.
Reflecting on his ‘humbling’ MBE, Rashford vowed to continue fighting to protect the most vulnerable children.
“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.
“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.”
My superhero. For every sacrifice, cuddle, every word of encouragement. Every bus trip, skipped meal, every cheer on the sidelines in the freezing cold. Your strength still blows me away to this day. With you by my side there’s nothing I can’t do. I love you mum, enjoy your day♥️ pic.twitter.com/BA1qNZrOea— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) October 8, 2020
United paid tribute to their striker, saying in a statement: “Everyone at Manchester United is hugely proud of Marcus for the work he has been doing to tackle food poverty among vulnerable children.
“His campaigning has raised awareness of a crucial issue and made a positive difference, and we are delighted to see his efforts being recognised with this honour.”
Rashford’s family help support the striker’s campaign, and shared their pride at his MBE honour.
“We are all so proud of what he has done and everything he is doing for the community and himself,” a family spokesman told the PA news agency.
“For us guys, we are going to continue to try to make a difference to as many families and lives as we can.”
Rashford scored 22 goals in all competitions for Manchester United last season as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side finished third in the Premier League.
The striker has found the net twice in the new campaign.
United, though, have struggled for consistency and lost their last match before the international break 6-1 at home against Tottenham.
Rashford was an unused substitute as England beat Wales 3-0 in a friendly at Wembley on Thursday night, but could return to the team for the Nations League fixtures against Belgium and Denmark.
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