Marcus Rashford is a star player in putting footballing fame to good use for children in need
I do wonder what he would have made of 2020, when aside from the coronavirus, the world shone the spotlight on the kind of racial and social inequalities that he made his name speaking out against.
It is a shame that we are still having the same conversations, but with a new era of awareness comes a new generation of people who, like Ali, are standing up for what they believe in.
There have been many examples during the year but, as someone who works with young people, I recognise the contribution of Marcus Rashford, who used his platform as a professional footballer to call for children from disadvantaged homes to continue to get free meals during school holidays.
Activism like his resonates in a community such as Shirebrook, which has more than its fair share of hungry children who rely on their school meals to keep them fed and where, when the government refused to provide free school meals during the October half term holidays, volunteers and businesses across the town stepped in.
Their generosity was remarkable, and their selflessness is no less worthy than Marcus Rashford’s simply because they are not famous. Like him, they used what resources they had to help others just because they felt it was right.
But what I appreciate about Marcus Rashford is that he shows concern about other issues and that, in a sport where the top performers could do a lot more with the money they receive, he continues to harness his fame in a positive way.
He is also an excellent embodiment of the character values we teach our students, of how communities pull together in tough times and how we should all show courage, honesty, integrity, compassion and kindness.
I can’t wait for 2020 to be over, but in a difficult year for everyone, it has been inspiring to see how the qualities and character that turned Ali into a legend have come to the fore – whether through Marcus Rashford or the countless community volunteers who went out of their way to make a difference.