Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford will become the youngest recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester later in the summer as a result of his hard work in campaigning against child poverty.
During a time of such great difficulty, Rashford has been a shining light with his work off the field during football's enforced break.
While he has sought to tackle the issue of homelessness as well as learning sign language to help judge a poetry competition at a school for the deaf, perhaps his most notable achievement has been his successful campaign to get the UK government to make a U-turn on their decision not to extend a free school meals programme into the summer holidays.
The £120m ‘Covid summer food fund’ will help over one million children claim free school meal vouchers in England during the summer holidays. Working with FareShare, he has also raised money to ensure around four million meals are distributed to those who need it most each week, and the 22-year-old has already received an award of special recognition from the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester for his efforts.
The University of Manchester has now confirmed on its official website that they will make Rashford the youngest recipient of an honorary doctorate - an award which is the highest honour the university can bestow. This comes as a result of his incredible work both on and off the field in recent times. United legends Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton have also previously received the award from the university.
"It's a proud day for myself and my family. When you look at the great names that have been awarded this doctorate in the past, it's humbling," Rashford said.
"We still have a long way to go in the fight to combat child poverty in this country but receiving recognition from your city means we are heading in the right direction and that means a lot. Thank you to The University of Manchester."
The University of Manchester's president and vice-chancellor Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell added: “Marcus is an extraordinary young man with an extraordinary talent and drive that stretches well beyond the football field.
“His work for charity and his high-profile campaign will not only help countless young people across our own city, but across the entire country.
“Our university has social responsibility at its core and this sense of civic pride and duty is something we are proud to share with Marcus. That is why the university is delighted to make Marcus our youngest ever recipient of an honorary degree.”
A spokesperson for United further commented: “Marcus is an exceptional player and an exceptional person. His work with FareShare and his focus on child poverty make him richly deserving of this tremendous honour and everyone at Manchester United is incredibly proud of him.”