Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 6 December 2020

Marcus Rashford leads Queen Elizabeth's birthday honours with MBE for school meals campaign

More than 70 per cent of the honours went to people working in their local community

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford has been honored with an MBE. AP
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford has been honored with an MBE. AP

Footballer Marcus Rashford is among those to receive awards in Queen Elizabeth's birthday honours, an annual list dominated this year by front-line workers against the Covid-19 pandemic and community champions.

The 22-year-old Manchester United and England forward successfully campaigned to extend free school meals this summer, receives an MBE for services to vulnerable children during the pandemic.

Among other awards, ‘Poirot’ actor David Suchet is knighted and there are damehoods for food writer and broadcaster Mary Berry and actress Maureen Lipman.

CBEs go to physicist Professor Brian Cox, TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, actor Adrian Lester and singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading.

Rashford vowed to continue fighting to protect the most vulnerable children.

"I'm 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,” he said.

"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 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.

"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."

In sport, Welsh former rugby player Gareth Thomas receives a CBE and cricketer Darren Gough is awarded an MBE.

Body Coach Joe Wicks and Mr Motivator (Derrick Evans) also receive MBEs for their live workouts to encourage people to stay physically fit during lockdown.

"Of those who have been awarded, 72 per cent go to those who have worked tirelessly for their local community," the Cabinet Office said in a statement.

"This reflects the huge voluntary effort across the country in response to Covid-19, with recipients cumulatively supplying millions of free meals to those shielding, delivering care packages to (health service) front-line workers and clocking up countless voluntary hours to support those at risk."

In the British honours system, MBE stands for Member of the Order of the British Empire. It is outranked by the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) and by the top award, the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire).

Updated: October 10, 2020 02:07 AM

Editor's Picks
THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
Sign up to our daily email
Most Read