01 Nov Marcus Rashford hails ‘hero’ eight-year-old who collected food and presents for children | UK News
An eight-year-old boy who was inspired by Marcus Rashford to collect food and presents for children has been overwhelmed by donations.
Stanley Heaton, from Manchester, wrote letters to neighbours asking for donations after seeing the success of Rashford’s free school meals campaign.
He told Sky News he sent the letters on Friday but has already had a “mind-blowing” response.
His hard work even got the attention of the Manchester United footballer, who tweeted and said Stanley was his “hero”.
Stanley said: “I wanted to try and collect food because Marcus Rashford inspired me, because [the campaign] made me feel it’s not good that people are starving.
“I only expected a couple of bags [of food] to be honest but look what we have got. The living room is covered in toys and food, it’s amazing.
“I asked for presents because it’s really stressful and annoying having to experience not having presents for Christmas.”
The donations are going to a local food bank.
Stanley, who is a Manchester United fan and an aspiring footballer, said his idol’s recognition has made him “really happy”.
He added: “It’s made me really happy, especially because I’m a Man United fan.”
More than a million people have now signed Rashford’s petition calling for the government to extend free school meals.
The number of signatories reached 1,001,500 at 5pm on 28 October – two weeks after it was set up by the footballer.
The petition asks for the government to provide meals and activities during all holidays; increase the value of Healthy Start vouchers to at least £4.25 per week, and expand free school meals to all under 16s, where a parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit or an equivalent benefit.
So far, Boris Johnson has resisted making a similar U-turn to the one earlier this year, when he extended free school meals through the summer holidays due to the coronavirus pandemic.