England footballer Marcus Rashford has been awarded with an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list following his efforts to reduce child food poverty.
The 22-year-old receives the accolade for his services to vulnerable children in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the coronavirus lockdown, the UK government provided food vouchers for children who would normally receive a free meal at school, however, it was announced that the scheme would not continue into the school holidays.
This led to Mr Rashford writing an open letter to MPs where he wrote about his own experiences of relying on free school meals and food banks while growing up in Manchester.
The government promptly reversed their decision, which resulted in around 1.3m children in England being able to claim vouchers over and not going hungry.
Upon learning of the news of his honour, Mr Rashford said: “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.”
“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 British 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.”
Mr Rashford has continued to campaign on the issue of child food poverty, and last month formed a taskforce with the country’s leading supermarkets in the hope of finding a long term solution to the problem.