Marcus Rashford has been awarded a Blue Peter badge – saying he “appreciates it greatly”.
The footballer and campaigner has been presented with a gold Blue Peter badge alongside Greta Thunberg who said she will treasure the item, keeping it “in my room”.
The gold badge is awarded to only a small number of people each year for having “accomplished great things, inspired a nation, saved a life or shown bravery and courage”.
Previous recipients include the Queen, Sir David Attenborough Dame Mary Berry Raheem Sterling, Tim Peake and the late Captain Sir Tom Moore.
Rashford has become an anti-poverty campaigner and successfully lobbied the UK Government into a U-turn over its free school meals policy in England.
Speaking on a video call, he said of his badge: “I appreciate it greatly – I am happy that I’m able to spread positive messages and show a side of me that people might not know of.
“A lot of what I do is not for me, I just want to give people the best chance to be the best they can be.”
Thunberg was given her badge for raising awareness about climate change and for inspiring “a generation to make a positive change for the planet.”
She said via video link: “Thank you so much. I don’t know if I deserve this but I am very honoured by this and I will put this in my room and take great care of it.”
The Blue Peter gold badge special show will also feature children who “achieve incredible things”.
They will receive surprise messages from Stormzy, the Harry Potter cast and Premier League footballers.
They include seven-year-olds Ayaan and Mikaeel, who raised £100,000 after setting up a lemonade stand to raise money for children living in Yemen.
Stormzy tells them: “I have heard about your incredible lemonade stand and all the amazing work you guys have done. I was blown away … You are a pair of little legends, wear it with pride because you deserve it.”
The show’s editor Ellen Evans said: “The Blue Peter Gold Badge Awards is a feel-good show about the extraordinary things that young people achieve.
“Each year only a few gold badges are awarded to our amazing audience who have shown outstanding bravery, overcome adversity and achieved the most brilliant things.”
“It’s so difficult to choose who is awarded a badge and I hope that (the children who received badges) inspire others with their stories as both Greta and Marcus have done.”
Presenter Mwaksy said: “Each year we get so many amazing letters from kids at home telling us about the things they have achieved.
“Some make us laugh and some make us cry so it is fantastic to be able to award some of our viewers a gold badge.”
Blue Peter is on CBBC and BBC iPlayer at 5pm on Thursdays.