Marcus Rashford and Greta Thunberg have been inundated with praise for their work in raising their awareness around food poverty and climate change respectively.
Now, the pair are getting one of the highest honours the UK can provide – a coveted Gold Blue Peter badge.
While the standard Blue Peter badge is still pretty special, the Gold badge is the most sought after edition, with only a small number being awarded each year to people who have accomplished great things, inspired a nation, saved a life or who have shown bravery and courage.
Previous recipients include Her Majesty the Queen, Sir David Attenborough, Dame Mary Berry, Raheem Sterling, Tim Peake, Nikki Lilly and the late Captain Sir Tom Moore, and now both activist Greta, 18, and Manchester United star Marcus, 23, are joining the club,
After Blue Peter received letters from many kids saying he was an inspiration not just because of his football skills, but his social campaigning, Marcus is being awarded the badge for being a ‘hero not only on the pitch but off the pitch as well’.
He said: ‘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.’
Marcus has been hailed as a national hero after forcing the government into a U-turn to provide free school meals for children from low-income families during school holidays.
Meanwhile, Greta is being honoured for inspiring a generation to make a positive change for the planet with her campaigning around climate change.
The Swedish activist said: ‘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 honour children who have achieved incredible feats over the past year – with some of their idols delivering special messages.
Presenter Mwaksy Mudenda 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.’
Among those being honoured are seven-year-olds Ayaan and Mikaeel, who last summer set up a lemonade stand to raise money for children living in Yemen.
Ayaan and Mikaeel called their stand ‘Lemonade for Yemen-aid’ and set a target to raise £500 but by the end of just day one, they had raised an incredible £5,000.
After receiving a donation from Angelina Jolie, they have now raised a whopping £100,000 for Yemeni children.
In the special, they receive messages from Arsenal’s David Luiz and Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes before getting a message from Stormzy who tells them: ‘I have heard about your incredible lemonade stand and all the amazing work you guys have done. I was blown away… I would love to nominate you for a Gold Blue Peter badge, you are a pair of little legends, wear it with pride because you deserve it.’
Eurovision fan Holly, 12, will be given a badge after setting up her own song contest called Dollovision after the real deal was cancelled to raise money for the NHS.
Holly wrote 41 entries for the contest and made videos for the seven finalists, and will receive a video message from Eurovision commentator Rylan Clark-Neal for her efforts, as well as surprises from the stars of Strictly Come Dancing.
Harry Potter stars Rupert Grint and Tom Felton will surprise huge Potter fan Archie, who has been raising money for the children’s charities who helped his family, after he was treated for leukaemia and his little brother Stanley became ill as a baby.
Other badge winners include Emmie, who set up Emmie’s Kitchen to help and support parents at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital where she was treated for leukaemia; Tony, six, who raised £1.6m for a local children’s hospital, inspired by the late Sir Captain Tom Moore; and Steffan, who helped save the lives of five people when he was only eight years old by alerting the coastguard after he noticed people stuck on the rocks with the tide rising.
Blue Peter 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 Archie, Holly, Tony, Emmie, Steffan, Ayaan and Mikaeel inspire others with their stories as both Greta and Marcus have done.’
The Blue Peter Gold Badge Special airs on Thursday, February 25 at 5pm on CBBC and BBC iPlayer.
Credit: Original article published here.