Sadiq Khan has thanked football star Marcus Rashford for his “inspiring” campaign against child food poverty – and shared a personal insight into its importance.
The Manchester United striker forced a Government U-turn in June with his campaign to give free school meals to children over the summer holidays.
His campaign provided a lifeline for 1.3 million children from families already struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Rashford, 22, was himself on free school meals as a child, and revealed that he heard his mother crying herself to sleep after a 14-hour work day, worrying about feeding her children.
The football ace is determined to do more to help today’s vulnerable youngsters, and has now set up a child food poverty task force with major brands including Tesco, Aldi, Deliveroo and Kellogg’s.
And in a letter to the England team player earlier this week, Mr Khan revealed that he too had free school meals as a child.
“Life would have been much harder for my family if we didn’t have them and I know how important they are,” the Mayor wrote.
He thanked the football star for his continuing work, saying the fight to end child poverty “doesn’t stop here”.
“Every child should have the right to healthy, affordable and sustainable food no matter what their circumstances are or where they live,” he added.
The Mayor told Mr Rashford he wants every child to “fulfil their potential as you have” and wished him luck in his future work.
But there was one exception to Mr Khan’s good wishes for the Manchester United player – when his team play rivals Liverpool at Anfield stadium.
Despite being from Tooting, the Mayor of London is a lifelong Liverpool fan – and on Twitter he joked that it “wasn’t easy complimenting a Man United star”.
But responding to the letter, also on Twitter, Mr Rashford dismissed the club rivalry and focused on the problem facing British youngsters.
He thanked Mr Khan for his “kind words” and said he was “more determined than ever” to tackle child poverty.
“I do what I do for Liverpool as much as anywhere,” said the Mancunian youth.
“Children all over the UK are crying out for our help. This is much bigger than me, than football, than politics.
“It’s time we all started listening, instead of clouding our views with allegiances and rivalries.”