Marcus Rashford has been honoured with a special award at the BBC Sports Personality awards show on Sunday evening after his work to raise awareness of child food poverty in the UK.
Rashford, who was part of the Manchester United side who beat Leeds United 6-2 on Sunday afternoon, was presented with the Panel Special Award after he successfully campaigned for the government to extend free school meals during the coronavirus pandemic.
The main Sport Personality of the Year award is based around sporting achievements but the judging panel unanimously agreed the England international deserved to be commended this year.
His campaign resulted in about 1.3 million children in England being able to claim free school meal vouchers in the summer holidays, while a £400m package to support poor children and their families was announced by the government in November following further campaigning from Rashford.
‘Growing up as a kid I felt like I believe I started 50m behind everyone else in a 100m race,’ said Rashford. ‘It was more difficult for them to do basic things like eat the right things or get to training and ti was a nightmare situation.
‘Once I got to where I always wanted to get to I always had this thing that eats at me saying make sure you make a difference for the next generation. I think as a country we should support children and and give them the best chance at life and let them become anything they want to become.
‘The award will sit in her house because in difficult circumstances she brought me up to a person who has morals and i haven’t changed from when I was a kid.’
Rashford, who has spoken about going without food as a child, became an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
His work will be highlighted in a documentary shown on the BBC on December 21.
The BBC first announced they would honour Rashford – who didn’t make the main SPOTY shortlist – last month.
‘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.’