Footballer Marcus Rashford has been honoured by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his campaign to feed vulnerable children.
The 22-year-old Manchester United and England forward is one of the highest-profile figures on the monarch’s birthday honours list, which was postponed from June in order to include front-line health workers and others in the COVID-19 effort.
Rashford forced a government U-turn over its free school meals policy, ensuring children in need would receive meal vouchers throughout the summer months, and has formed a child food poverty task force.
Rashford, who has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), said he was “honoured and humbled” to receive the award: “Let’s stand together in saying that no children in the UK should be going to bed hungry. As I have said many times before, no matter your feeling or opinion, not having access to food is never the child’s fault.”
Body Coach’s Joe Wicks and Derrick Evans, better known as Mr Motivator, also received the MBEs for their live workouts to encourage people to stay physically fit during the lockdown.
Rapper Lady Leshurr has been awarded the British Empire Medal for her coronavirus-related song that reminds people to wash their hands. “I can’t believe that the queen of England has noticed and commended the queen of grime.”
Of those who have been honoured, nearly three-quarters have worked for their local communities, reflecting the huge voluntary effort in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Boris Johnson said: “This year’s honours recipients are a testament to the sort of country we are – caring, compassionate and resolute in the face of a global pandemic.”
“The hard work and dedication of these local, often unsung heroes has helped carry us through. I congratulate them all.”
Meanwhile GMB performer Dr Hilary Jones said he was “humbled and delighted” to be honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
He said: “I feel humbled and delighted in equal measure to be afforded this honour.
“I can only hope that my work in public health broadcasting and in medical practice over the last 40 years is truly worthy of it, in the full awareness that others from many different walks of life are even more deserving than myself.
“I shall continue this work for which I have an enduring passion and will continue to support the various amazing charities in which I am involved.”
Other names on the list of honours include Lorraine Kelly & Mr Motivator. Many on Twitter have said that those who have towed the Government line have been given honours.