Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford is set to receive an honorary doctorate from The University of Manchester later this summer.
The award, which is the highest honour the university can bestow, will be “for his remarkable campaign against child poverty off the field and outstanding sporting achievements on the pitch“.
Rashford successfully campaigned for the government to extend its free school meals voucher scheme over the summer holidays last month and also helped lead an initiative with the FareShare charity to raise funds to help supply food to children during the coronavirus pandemic.
The young man, who is only 22, will be the youngest ever recipient of an honorary degree from the university and joins Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton on the list of those who have received one.
Rashford says: “When you look at the great names that have been awarded this doctorate in the past, it’s humbling.
“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.”
During the lockdown, Rashford selflessly teamed up with the poverty and food waste charity, FareShare, a collaboration which led to £20m being raised in financial and food donations and enabling 3.9 million meals to be distributed to the country’s most vulnerable every week during the pandemic.
On 15 June, he also pushed the campaign further by writing a heartfelt open letter to the UK government and followed up this message with a high-profile publicity and social media campaign drawing on his own personal experiences of using foodbanks and afterschool clubs growing up.
President and vice-chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, says: “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.”