Great Britain

Marcus Rashford to receive Pride of Britain award after leading campaign to extend free school meals for kids

MANCHESTER United star Marcus Rashford has been named Pride of Britain after the success of his campaign to extend free school meals for kids.

The England striker was selected by the panel of judges after receiving thousands of nominations for his charity work.

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After being awarded the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Award, the footballer said: “No way!”

On the importance of the campaign, Rashford said: “Ultimately no kids should miss meals.

"For me, that should be just standard no matter where you come from. If we get that as the new normal then we have made a lot of strides forward.”

During lockdown the 22-year-old dedicated his time to get disadvantaged kids free school meals.

Rashford also raised £20million to feed three million people during the pandemic.

“I attended Pride of Britain last year so I was able to see firsthand just how deserving the recipients of the awards are,” Marcus told the Mirror.

“I am extremely humbled but I’d like to think that I am receiving this award on behalf of all of the incredible people who have selflessly stepped up to support their communities during this pandemic.

"I have met many of them and I am no more deserving than them.

“Parents who have sacrificed everything to feed their children during this challenging time, people who are volunteering at the FareShare food banks day in and day out, people who are fighting to protect our most vulnerable children every minute of the day.

"It is those people who really make me proud to be British and really define us as a United Kingdom.

"So today, I accept this award on behalf of all of those who step up without the need for thanks and accolades. I appreciate every single one of you.”

The 2020 Pride of Britain Awards will air on Sunday, November 1 at 9pm.

It comes as an army of local cafes and restaurants answered Rashford’s call to offer free meals to kids during half-term.

The children's meal champion said he was "blown away" by all the small businesses offering their help after MPs rejected a motion to extend free school meals over the holidays.

The Manchester United striker posted a passionate message on his Twitter account on October 22 pleading with the Government to extend free school meals after MPs rejected his motion.

All cafes, pubs and restaurants who have pledged to provide meals for children over the holiday can add their details to an online map which shows the success of the initiative.

Today, Marcus tweeted out a screenshot of the map showing the army of businesses which are now helping out families struggling during the coronavirus lockdown.

He posted: "Ever been more proud of being British?! And we’re still going, wow wow wow #ENDCHILDFOODPOVERTY".

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak has been accused of "parking the treasury bus" to block Rashford's £20m demand to feed 1.4 million deprived kid.

But amid the backlash against the government, Marcus hit back at Twitter trolls who targeted the families of Tory MPs.

The young footballer insisted he "will not condone personal attacks".

He said: "I want to take a quick second to acknowledge that a number of MPs, and their families, have received unacceptable abuse of the last couple of days, especially on Twitter.

"Believe me, as a Premier League player, I know all to well what that feels like and it's unnecessary. We are all bigger than that."

Dozens of councils have also promised to provide vouchers to low-income families during the half-term holiday.

And McDonald’s heroically stepped in with a million free meals.

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