Great Britain

Marcus Rashford and Greta Thunberg awarded gold Blue Peter badges

Marcus Rashford and Greta Thunberg have been awarded gold Blue Peter badges for their campaigning work on poverty and the environment.

Only a handful of the badges are given out each year, predominantly for outstanding achievements by children, such as saving someone's life or showing unique bravery.

Adults recipients are even more unusual, with the awards offered only on “very rare occasions” to high-profile personalities who are considered to be exceptional role models.

The Manchester United footballer and anti-poverty campaigner, 23, forced the government into a U-turn over free school meals in England, extending the policy to cover children during the holidays.

He said of receiving the badge: “I appreciate it greatly. I am happy that I’m able to spread positive messages and show a side of me that people might not know of.

“A lot of what I do is not for me, I just want to give people the best chance to be the best they can be.”

Ms Thunberg, 18, was given her badge for raising awareness about climate change and for inspiring “a generation to make a positive change for the planet”.

She said: “I don’t know if I deserve this but I am very honoured by this and I will put this in my room and take great care of it.”

Previous recipients include the Queen, Sir David Attenborough, Dame Mary Berry, Tim Peake and the late Captain Sir Tom Moore.

Greta Thunberg said she will treasure her badge, putting it ‘in my room’

Seven-year-olds Ayaan and Mikaeel, who raised £100,000 after setting up a lemonade stand to raise money for children living in Yemen, will also receive a gold badge.

A special Blue Peter awards show will see the recipients shown surprise messages from Stormzy, the Harry Potter cast and Premier League footballers.

Ellen Evans, the show’s editor, said: “The Blue Peter Gold Badge Awards is a feelgood show about the extraordinary things that young people achieve.

“Each year only a few gold badges are awarded to our amazing audience who have shown outstanding bravery, overcome adversity and achieved the most brilliant things.

“It’s so difficult to choose who is awarded a badge and I hope that [the children who received badges] inspire others with their stories as both Greta and Marcus have done.”

The badges will be formally presented in the special show tomorrow (25 February) on CBBC at 5pm.

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