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Marcus Rashford honoured at SPOTY for raising awareness of child food poverty

Marcus Rashford has been honoured with the Panel Special Award at the BBC Sports Personality show this Sunday evening in recognition of his work to tackle child food poverty.

The Manchester United forward, 23, successfully campaigned for the government to extend the free school meals scheme over the summer during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Englishman’s efforts also helped FareShare – the charity which tackles food poverty and waste – feed over 4.2million people.

Rashford was not shortlisted for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, as the judging panel agreed his efforts should be recognised with a special award.

Marcus Rashford has been honoured with the Panel Special Award at the BBC Sports Personality show

“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,” said BBC director of sport Barbara Slater.

“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.

The 23-year-old has worked tirelessly to address food poverty this year

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“This award is a tribute to a remarkable young man.”

As well as leading the ‘#MakeTheUTurn’ campaign which ensured 1.3million children continued to receive free school meals, Rashford launched the Child Food Poverty Taskforce in September.

Partnering with major supermarkets such as Aldi and Tesco, the taskforce highlights the experience of children growing up in food poverty and aims to support the National Food Strategy.

Rashford knows all about the situations of the children and families he is helping, as he suffered from food insecurity as a boy.

“I remember the sound of my mum crying herself to sleep to this day, having worked a 14-hour shift, unsure how she was going to make ends meet. That was my reality,” Rashford wrote when announcing the taskforce.

Rashford’s work this year also saw him named an MBE in October.

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