Queen Consort hails Marcus Rashford over book donation to youth club

The Queen Consort sang the praises of Marcus Rashford when she unveiled a donation of books from the Manchester United striker to his former youth club.

Camilla described the England player’s gesture as “wonderful” during an afternoon spent touring Norbrook Youth Club with the King, where as a schoolboy Rashford played pool with his friends when not training with his club.

England manager Gareth Southgate also praised the player, dubbing him “impressive”, after he sat down with Charles to hear the life stories of young people supported by The Prince’s Trust.

Royal visit to Greater Manchester
The King talks to Gareth Southgate (Frank Augstein/PA)

The Norbrook Youth Club, in the Manchester area of Wythenshawe, received a bookshelf unit crammed with children’s novels – picked by the footballer and Macmillan Children’s Books team – donated by the Marcus Rashford Book Club in partnership with the National Literacy Trust.

Southgate, an ambassador with the Prince’s Trust, when asked about the striker’s role tackling issues like literacy and child hunger, replied: “He’s been so impressive in being able to cope with it and to be thinking of other people.

“We’re fortunate in our team, we’ve got a lot of young men who recognise the privilege they’ve got and the opportunity to help other people that have come from the same areas that they’ve come from… we are in his youth centre, aren’t we.”

In 2020, Rashford waged a high-profile campaign to persuade the Government to provide free meals to vulnerable youngsters in England throughout the school holidays during the coronavirus pandemic, forcing the then-prime minister Boris Johnson into a U-turn.

The England manager went on to say: “This is where he grew up. He recognises the impact that had on his life and the opportunity he’s got (and) the position he’s in to be able to affect things positively for other people.”

Among the books donated to the youth club was one written by Rashford with Alex Falase-Koya – The Breakfast Club Adventures: The Beast Beyond The Fence – a story about a boy called Marcus who loses a football over a fence and investigates what lies beyond the wall.

“It’s so wonderful to get the books from Marcus Rashford,” said the Queen Consort before joining writer Falase-Koya as he led a class of local school children involved in creating their own story.

Later Charles and Camilla sat down and spoke to a group of teenagers who have been helped to develop confidence and other life skills thanks to the Thrive programme – a collaboration between NatWest Group, the National Youth Agency and footballer and campaigner Rashford.

At the end of the discussion, Charles quipped: “Thank God for a caring bank.”

Earlier the King donned a white coat for a tour of the biggest Corn Flakes factory in the world, where he joked that he was a year late for the 100th anniversary of Kellogg’s in the UK.

The King speaks to staff on the Corn Flakes production line during a visit to the Kellogg’s factory to mark 100 years of Kellogg's in the UK at Trafford Park, in Stretford, as part of his visit to Greater Manchester
The King speaks to staff on the Corn Flakes production line during a visit to the Kellogg’s factory at Trafford Park in Stretford, as part of his visit to Greater Manchester (Paul Ellis/PA)

Kellogg’s has been a holder of the Royal Warrant since the reign of King George VI and cereal from the business was historically delivered to Buckingham Palace in a small van called Genevieve.

Charles, who unveiled a plaque marking his visit to the Manchester factory and celebrating 100 years of “bringing breakfast to Britain”, sparked laughter when he said: “Sorry I’m a year late.”

During his visit to the plant, which has just under 400 workers, the King toured the culinary centre – a new research and development hub – where he viewed cooking demonstrations and saw the various cereals on offer.