Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford has been awarded an MBE in recognition of his services to vulnerable children in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, to give the honour its full title, has been awarded to the United Academy graduate as reward for his extraordinary efforts to publicise and address social inequality, in particular his success in helping to extend the free school-meals scheme over the summer.
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service.
It was established on 4th June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of the order.
The five classes of appointment to the Order are, in descending order of precedence:
- GBE – Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire[b]
- KBE or DBE – Knight Commander or Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
- CBE – Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
- OBE – Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
- MBE – Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
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 international has since formed a child food poverty task force, linking up with some of the nation’s biggest supermarkets and food brands.
Other former Manchester United employees to receive the MBE include the likes of Viv Anderson, Peter Beardsley, Eric Harrison, David Healy, Henrik Larsson, Jim Leighton, Peter Schmeichel, Teddy Sheringham, Nobby Stiles, Casey Stoney and Ray Wilkins.
However, none of them were as young as Marcus when being awarded the honour as the Reds and England forward is still only 22 years old.
In a statement confirming the honour, Rashford said: “I’m incredibly honoured and humbled,” said Marcus. “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 Prime Minister, who recommended me for this honour, 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,” he added.
He continued “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.”
A spokesman for Manchester United said: “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.”
In related story Former athlete Brendan Foster awarded knighthood for services to international and national sport and culture in north-east England; Warren Gatland awarded CBE for services to rugby union in Wales; Eve Muirhead awarded MBE for services to curling.
Former England cricketer Darren Gough has been made an MBE for services to the sport and charity, while World Athletics’ executive director communications Jacqueline Anne Brock-Doyle receives a CBE.
Former Scottish Football Association president Alan McRae is awarded an OBE for services to grassroots and professional football, Table Tennis England chief executive Sara Jane Sutcliffe and retired Northern Irish World Cup referee Alan Snodd receive MBEs, while Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace has been honoured with a British Empire Medal for services to football and the community in Hertfordshire.
Congratulations Marcus and all the other awardees, from all of us at myaimreport.com.