Marcus Rashford to receive Sports Personality recognition for campaign work

Marcus Rashford will receive a special award as part of next month’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony for his work raising awareness of child food poverty in the UK.
Marcus RashfordMarcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford

The 23-year-old’s campaigning has earned widespread admiration, with his work to ensure free meals would be provided to disadvantaged children helping to improve the lives of thousands during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rashford was last month made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to vulnerable children, having been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester in July.

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The Manchester United and England forward is soon to receive more recognition after the BBC Sports Personality of the Year judging panel unanimously agreed that “Marcus’ accomplishments off the pitch this year should be commended”.

The broadcaster said Rashford will be honoured with a “Panel Special Award” at this year’s event on December 20 in recognition of his extraordinary impact away from sport.

Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, said: “Marcus’ endeavour to give a voice to those who find themselves in a situation that he too is familiar with has been greatly admired and the panel wanted to ensure he was recognised for that.

“In a year that has been challenging for everyone, but particularly vulnerable families, he has gone above and beyond to transcend his sport and make a real difference. This award is a tribute to a remarkable young man.”

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Rashford will also feature in a BBC One documentary focusing on his drive to raise awareness of the effect of child poverty, with the 60-minute programme to air on December 21.

BBC head of commissioning for documentaries Clare Sillery said: “Everyone will be familiar with the Marcus Rashford we see on the pitch, but this documentary will offer a deeper insight into the man himself.

“Through our access we hope viewers will get to see just how passionate and determined he is about tackling child food poverty in Britain today.”

Tweeting about the documentary, Rashford said: “This is not about me, it’s about offering a platform for voices to be heard.

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“We’ve been ignoring the issue for too long, now is the time for change.”

Rashford successfully lobbied the Government into a U-turn over its free school meals policy in England during the first lockdown, ensuring children in need would receive meals across the summer.

Further campaigning saw the Government backtrack and announce free meals would be provided to disadvantaged children over the Christmas holidays.

Rashford has formed a child food poverty task force, linking up with some of the nation’s biggest supermarkets and food brands, and recently launched a book club so that all children can experience the escapism of reading.

On the pitch, the forward scored in Manchester United’s 3-1 Champions League win against Istanbul Basaksehir on Tuesday to take his tally to eight goals in 14 club matches in all competitions.