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MBE for Marcus Rashford following his work in tackling child food poverty

Marcus Rashford refuses to give up on campaign to extend free school meals
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford has been made an MBE for his efforts in helping secure free meals for vulnerable children during the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

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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.

Last month, the Professional Footballers’ Association honoured Rashford with a special merit award for his efforts.

“What we’ve done so far, it’s only a short-term answer,” the United forward said at the time.

“Me and my team behind me are just trying to find plans on how we can help these children for the rest of their childhood really; to find long-term answers to the problem.

“At the moment we don’t have the answers but we’ll do our best to try to find them, and to progress the situation that they are in at the moment the best we can.”

Rashford added: “It’s been a long journey, but I think the first phase was probably the hardest bit, which was learning and self-teaching who were the right people to get in contact with to help these children especially.

“We had the ideas, but we didn’t know where to pitch them, or who to pitch them to, so that was probably the most difficult phase of everything really. That was right at the beginning of lockdown.

“This is obviously a huge honour, and for me I just hope it encourages and promotes other players to do things to help as much as they can. I’m very happy, and I’ll definitely continue to do my best to help people.”

Rashford scored 22 goals in all competitions for Manchester United last season as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side finished third in the Premier League.

Marcus Rashford has scored twice for Manchester United this season

Marcus Rashford has scored twice for Manchester United this season (Glyn Kirk/PA)

The striker has scored 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 is expected to return to the team for the Nations League fixtures against Belgium and Denmark.