PREMIER LEAGUE – Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford, was honoured on Friday by Queen Elizabeth II, for his action against child poverty, during the Covid-19 pandemic, along with hundreds of anonymous people, who have contributed to the fight against the virus in the United Kingdom.
Under pressure from a campaign led by Marcus Rashford, made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), the government of Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson resolved in June to extend a programme of free meals for disadvantaged children during the summer when schools were closed and confined.
The executive’s initial refusal to maintain the programme over the summer, despite a moving appeal by Marcus Rashford and a limited cost in view of the astronomical sums involved in tackling the health crisis, had provoked a fire of criticism, including within the ruling party.
In total, the Queen singled out 1,495 people, including fitness guru Joe Wicks, whose free daily online exercise lessons had been well attended by children in confinement.
Also included were many anonymous people, such as healthcare workers, fundraisers and experts, whose contribution was essential during the pandemic.
THESE ROYAL DISTINCTIONS ARE AWARDED TWICE A YEAR.
The list reflects “the kind of country we are: caring, compassionate and determined in the face of a global pandemic,” commented Boris Johnson in a statement. “The hard work and dedication of these local heroes, often from the shadows, helped us to hold on,” he added, congratulating them.
The publication of the list of honours was originally planned for June on the occasion of Elizabeth II’s 94th birthday, but had been postponed to amend it in the wake of the pandemic.
These Royal Honours are awarded twice a year, on New Year’s Day and on the Queen’s official birthday, which is celebrated in June although she was born on April 21, 1926.