Manchester United and England football star Marcus Rashford has thanked a primary school for naming a room in his honour for his campaigning to ensure that disadvantaged pupils are fed during the summer holiday.
The Premier League footballer helped to secure a government U-turn – it agreed to extend its free school meal vouchers scheme – after he wrote to all MPs.
To celebrate this, pupils at Anderton Park Primary School in Birmingham have chosen to name a room after him and wrote letters to the 22-year-old.
Tes person of the year: Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson
The school was the focus of long-running protests by groups objecting to it teaching children about same-sex relationships.
It won a legal victory to prevent the protests taking place outside the school gates and its headteacher, Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, was named the Tes Person of the Year for 2019.
School tribute to Marcus Rashford
She said of Rashford: “He never gave up and he persevered. That’s what he is about and that is what we are about, too.
“He didn’t give up on free school meals and for him to write such an eloquent letter about his experiences growing up, and he is still a young man so he is talking about experiences that are not that long ago, it was so impressive.
“We name rooms after inspirational figures and we involve the children. In the past we have chosen Michelle Obama and Muhammad Ali.
“We ran a competition this year and Marcus Rashford was chosen.
“It was during the lockdown. There was around 10 in every class and they all got involved and wrote letters and drew pictures of him.
“In one of the classes, they had talked about hunger and one of the letters to Marcus Rashford said that 'the only thing children should be hungry for is greatness'.
“This week he posted on Twitter thanking us and we have invited him to open the room next term.”
Posting on social media, the footballer said: “I don’t know how I missed this the first time. This is really special. Thank you Anderton Park."
In his letter to MPs earlier this year, Rashford told how, when he was growing up, his family relied upon free school meals, and he urged the government to make them available over the summer.
He wrote: “As a black man from a low-income family in Wythenshawe, Manchester, I could have been just another statistic. Instead, due to the selfless actions of my mum, my family, my neighbours and my coaches, the only stats I’m associated with are goals, appearances and caps.
“I would be doing myself, my family and my community an injustice if I didn’t stand here today with my voice and my platform and ask you for help.
“The government has taken a ‘whatever it takes’ approach to the economy. I’m asking you today to extend that same thinking to protecting all vulnerable children across England. I encourage you to hear their pleas and find your humanity.”