Marcus Rashford awarded MBE by Prince William after free school meals campaign

Footballer was recognised last year for his free school meals campaign

Tim Wyatt
Tuesday 09 November 2021 20:26
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<p>Marcus Rashford is awarded his MBE by Prince William at Windsor Castle</p>

Marcus Rashford is awarded his MBE by Prince William at Windsor Castle

Marcus Rashford has collected his MBE in a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in recognition of his successful campaign to secure free meals for vulnerable children during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Manchester United and England football star was given his honour by Prince William at an investiture on Tuesday, in the first such event to take place in person since the pandemic began.

The prince said he was “pleased to be back doing investitures in person, celebrating people across the UK who have gone above and beyond for their country and community”.

The 24-year-old footballer forced the government into a U-turn last year after ministers had planned not to offer the £15-a-week vouchers given to children on free school meals over the summer holidays.

As pressure mounted and the government feared being engulfed in another crisis, Downing Street was forced into a volte-face and launched a new £120m fund for 1.3 million pupils in England.

The prime minister, Boris Johnson, called Mr Rashford personally “to thank him for what he’s done”.

Mr Rashford had to wait a year to collect his MBE because of the Covid pandemic

Later, in October, the footballer was awarded an MBE. In response, Mr Rashford said he was “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.”

His mother, Melanie Rashford, was present at Windsor Castle when he was awarded his MBE by the prince.

Since being given the honour last year, the England forward has maintained his campaign for social change by forming a child food-poverty taskforce, which has linked up with some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets and food brands.

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