The school, in one of the nation’s most deprived boroughs, dedicated the mural to the England captain
A mural of Marcus Rashford has been unveiled at an east London school – after pupils chose to dedicate an artwork to the footballer as a “thank you” for his campaign work on free school meals.
The mural, based on a photo by Paul Cooper, was sprayed on to the side of Gainsborough Primary School in Newham – one of the most deprived boroughs in the country – after teachers consulted kids about what they would like the art to depict.
Artist Josh Colwell of street art company MurWalls created the image on Monday, after a backer gifted the opportunity to the school.
The company’s founder Marc Silver said: “It was a majority (of students) who came back and said that they want to do a thank you message to Marcus Rashford for all the help that he’s done supporting the food banks and the meal tickets and everything during Covid.”
The Manchester United and England forward was chosen by the children despite having no connection to the area.
Mr Silver said: “People just respect him as a person, that he stood up to the Government, he stood up for what he believes in and he helped support and change people’s lives up and down the country.”
More than a third of pupils at the school are eligible for free school meals, double the national average.
Of the growing popularity of murals, Mr Silver said: “It’s definitely a growing trend and we’ve got to thank people like Banksy really because he’s put street art on the map.
“It’s been around for years – cavemen were doing it – but essentially, you know, it was done illegally.
“There’s some really talented people out there that just want to express themselves and now they’re getting the opportunity to paint them on walls and getting paid for it.”
The mural comes after in a difficult week for Rashford, who faced boos and jeers on Sunday as he led the England team in taking a knee as an anti-racism protest.
The England captain later made clear he would not be moved by the booing, making clear: “For us, we believe it’s the right thing to do, so we are going to continue to do it.”
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman later refused to condemn England fans who booed the team.
Asked whether the Prime Minister is refusing to criticise supporters who boo the gesture, the spokesman added: “No… the Prime Minister is supporting the England football team and wants them to succeed, and he wants the whole country to get behind them in that endeavour.”