CARING Marcus Rashford has netted an MBE for his heroic free school meals campaign — but warned Boris Johnson that his fight is “far from over”.
The England and Man United ace, 22, who forced ministers to feed 1.3 million of Britain’s poorest kids over the summer holidays, is urging them to extend the scheme to cover the next half-term.
Rashford said he was “honoured and humbled” to be awarded an MBE — and dedicated it to his mum Melanie.
The young England striker is honoured in the Queen’s birthday list for services to vulnerable children.
When schools were forced to close because of Covid, the poorest children had their free school meals extended — but ministers vowed to cut off this vital support over the summer holidays.
A powerful letter from Marcus urging them to think again led dozens of MPs from all sides to back his cause and forced the Government into a major U-turn.
Marcus is now urging Boris Johnson to extend the scheme for the upcoming half-term.
The Manchester United ace said of his gong: “I’m incredibly honoured and humbled.
‘FIGHT FAR FROM OVER’
“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.
“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.”
Multi-millionaire Marcus has spoken before of how his own hunger pangs as a child were kept at bay by free school meals and how hard-working Melanie struggled to put food on the table at home.
Tonight Tory MP Rob Halfon backed his call to extend the scheme, saying it should be paid for by the proceeds of the sugar tax.
He added: “I congratulate Marcus — he’s a hero of our time.”
Following the footballer’s campaign in June, No10 announced the creation of a £120million “Covid summer food fund”.
Parents of the poorest kids were given a £15 food voucher each week to spend in supermarkets over the six-week holiday.
Marcus also raised money for food poverty charity FareShare. He set a target of £100,000 but drummed up £20million to provide meals for around three million people.
Elsewhere in the sporting world, former Olympic athlete and Great North Run founder Brendan Foster, 72, received a knighthood for services to international and national sport and culture in North East England.
Ex-England cricketer and talkSPORT host Darren Gough is an MBE for services to the sport and charity, and ex-Wales rugby coach Warren Gatland is a CBE.
Covid’s unsung heroes
UNSUNG heroes who stepped up during the Covid pandemic have dominated this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Hundreds of key workers — including nurses, supermarket staff, delivery drivers and volunteers — are among those who receive gongs for selfless deeds.
Lynne Grieves, 57, is one of 41 nurses and midwives honoured.
The registered nurse moved into Northlea Court care home in Cramlington, Northumberland, in early April and stayed for 12 weeks — even celebrating her birthday there.
She wanted to be on hand, but could not risk taking the virus back home to her mum Ann, 82. Lynne, awarded a British Empire Medal, said: “Everybody sacrificed so much but it was worth it.”
Winsome Thomas, 57, a nurse at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust for 21 years, is also awarded the BEM.
Cambridge nurse Ashleigh Linsdell, 30, founded a national movement to make PPE for front-line workers. She used her own money to buy fabric.
In total, more than 70,000 volunteers helped make 1.2million items of PPE and a further million face coverings.
Ashleigh said of being made an OBE: “I cried when I found out. I had no idea how this would snowball.”
Asda delivery driver Geoff Norris, who used his own car to take groceries to elderly and vulnerable customers on his days off, is awarded the BEM.
Geoff, 53, from Wisbech, Cambs, said: “I was shocked as hell, absolutely gobsmacked.
“There were a lot of people that were in need and scared and we just thought let’s do something.”
A 100-year-old man who raised thousands for Covid relief by walking 970 laps of his garden while fasting during Ramadan has been made an OBE.
Dabirul Islam Choudhury raised more than £420,000 in Bow, East London.
He said: “I feel proud. I thank everybody from the bottom of my heart.”
Restaurateur David Maguire, 62, has been made an MBE after giving out free meals to NHS workers and vulnerable people during lockdown in Glasgow.
And Jay Flynn, who spent two years as a down and out on the streets of London, becomes an MBE after running an online virtual pub quiz during lockdown.
Jay, 38, entertained half a million people from his living room. He said: “I never thought I would achieve anything in my life. I’m blown away.”
Tonight, Boris Johnson said: “This year’s honours recipients are a testament to the sort of country we are — caring, compassionate and resolute in the face of a global pandemic.
“The hard work and dedication of these local, often unsung, heroes has helped carry us through.”
Asda pair bag gong
BILLIONAIRE brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa have landed a royal honour a week after bagging supermarket giant Asda in a £6.8billion deal.
Mohsin, 49, and Zuber, 48, were made CBEs in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to business and charity.
The brothers, children of immigrants from India, grew up in a modest terraced home in Blackburn.
They began their EG Group, still based in the town, with one rented petrol station — and, 20 years later, have almost 6,000 forecourts in ten countries.
Last week, the pair, who are building five mansions minutes from where they grew up, revealed they won the auction to buy Asda from Walmart.
Sage 7 get nod for work on virus
SEVEN members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies have been recognised for services to the Covid-19 response.
Professors Calum Semple, Graham Medley, Cath Noakes, Julia Gog, Lucy Yardley and Dr Gideon “James” Rubin are made OBEs, while Prof Andrew Morris becomes an MBE.
Meanwhile, Prof Stephen Holgate, whose company Synairgen has developed an inhaled coronavirus treatment, received a knighthood.
He said: “It is wonderful that the dedication, imagination and courage of so many colleagues is now being recognised.”
Prof Tim Spector, who runs the Covid Symptom Study app used by millions of Brits to track the progress of the virus, is being made an OBE.
He said: “It is great that the app has been given recognition in this way for its impact on Covid-19. This is an award for the whole team.”
Emma Walmsley, chief executive of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, has been made a dame.
She said: “I’m humbled to receive this honour.”
And Tory donor Tony Gallagher gets a knighthood for services to land development and the property business.
Dame Mary: I’m so lucky
BAKE Off star and national treasure Mary Berry becomes a dame.
Mary, 85, said today she was “absolutely overwhelmed”.
She said: “For most of my life, I have been lucky enough to follow my passion to teach cookery through books and the media.
“I wish my parents and brothers were here to share my joy, as my only achievement at school was one O level — in cookery of course.
“However, I’m sure they are looking down and smiling. I will celebrate with my husband and family.”
Mary has written dozens of popular cookbooks and appeared on TV regularly since the early 1970s.
She gained international stardom on the BBC’s Great British Bake Off.
SINGER Jeff Lynne, a star of supergroups Electric Light Orchestra and the Traveling Wilburys, is made an OBE.
The Birmingham-born producer founded ELO in 1970 with Roy Wood and Bev Bevan.
They had hits including Mr Blue Sky and Telephone Line before folding in 1986.
Two years later Lynne joined George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty in the Wilburys.
He has a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and three Ivor Novello awards.
The 72-year-old said: “I’m extremely humbled and grateful to be awarded this honour for my services to music.”
Brekkie Lorraine ‘humble’ at CBE
BREAKFAST TV star Lorraine Kelly has been made a CBE for her 36 years in broadcasting.
The 60-year-old, who has remained a constant throughout the pandemic, said she was humbled by the recognition.
She said: “This is such an unexpected honour. I’m very grateful, particularly as I’m in far more deserving company, especially those front-line workers who are true heroes.”
Sun columnist Lorraine first appeared on TV-AM in 1984 and has since become a breakfast TV fixture.
She has presented her daily talk show Lorraine since 2010.
She supports numerous charities including Help for Heroes and is the presenter of The Sun’s annual Millies awards for the Armed Forces.
Meanwhile, rapper Dizzee Rascal, 36, has been made an MBE. Dizzee, real name Dylan Mills, helped pioneer the grime genre with his Mercury Prize-winning 2003 debut album Boy in da Corner.
Poirot actor David Suchet, 74, who played the detective for 24 years from 1989, will be knighted.
And stars who helped the country get through the Covid-19 pandemic were honoured, including fitness heroes Joe Wicks and Mr Motivator.
They were made MBEs for keeping people active with their online workouts.
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