A young Marcus Rashford fan has received a surprise birthday present from his idol after donating his football boots to help children in poverty.
Caleb Waterhouse, 10, sent a heartwarming letter to food poverty charity FareShare asking if they could give his boots to the Manchester United footballer, 23, to sign so he could auction them off to raise money for struggling families.
The little boy, from Halifax, West Yorkshire, also donated his favourite Harry Potter book and asked if he could volunteer with FareShare over the school holidays after being inspired by the striker’s work.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk, Caleb’s mum Nicole Jones, 34, said he received the ‘best birthday surprise ever’ when Marcus tweeted telling him to keep the signed boots as a present for his ‘kindness’. The Premier League star promised to donate the money he would have raised to charity.
The adorable story came to light when FareShare Greater Manchester – which has worked closely with Marcus since March – shared Caleb’s letter on social media.
It read: ‘My favourite footballer is Marcus Rashford and I want to be just like him. I have seen that he has been helping you to provide meals to families who are struggling to feed their children.
‘I want to help out just like Marcus Rashford did and was wondering if I can come help in the school holidays.
‘My last day at school is Friday 18th December. Please can you let me know when I can come help you so my mum can book a day off work and bring me in the car?
‘My mum will help out too. I will try to collect some food items so I can bring these donations to you when I come to volunteer.
‘Also I have two pairs of football boots so I want to donate one of them so that you can raise money for FareShare. The boots are Neymar ones and I know that Manchester United are playing PSG on the 2nd December.
‘If you can give them to Marcus Rashford, both him and Neymar might be able to sign them and then I bet they will raise more money.’
The young boy added that he wanted to donate his copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to help Marcus give it to a child ‘who might not have many books to read’.
He also revealed he had written to Blue Peter to ask them to consider the footballer for a gold badge, saying: ‘I really hope he gets one because he has done lots of good things and makes me want to help people too.’
Caleb was rewarded for his kindness when Marcus took to Twitter to thank him on his 10th birthday yesterday.
He wrote: ‘Happy birthday Caleb, your mum must be very proud of you. I tell you what, FareShare will get the boots to me. I’ll sign them and you get to keep them as a birthday gift from me to you. I’ll donate the money you would have raised. Thank you for being kind.’
Caleb’s mum Nicole said he went to bed ‘a very happy boy’, adding that he has since vowed to continue his support of what he calls the ‘Marcus mission’.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk, she said: ‘Caleb was surprised and happy to see Marcus had wished him a happy birthday and said it was the best birthday message and present ever because he’s his hero.
‘Caleb has been a fan of Marcus Rashford since his debut for Manchester United in 2016. He has Rashford printed on his last three seasons shirts, he always chooses him.
‘He loves Marcus because he is the most exciting player and because he does good things to help people so he wants to be just like him.’
Nicole has revealed that her son’s donations to FareShare are far from his first random act of kindness.
The young activist sent letters and small gifts – including a chess set – to the residents of a local care home during the first national lockdown and put together a box of items to help a homeless person last year.
Caleb has also chosen to donate his family’s Christmas card money to FareShare this year after seeing they were unable to raise funds raffling off Manchester United tickets.
He plans to continue his charity work by setting up a donation page for Emerge which runs FareShare Greater Manchester.
Miranda Kaunang, head of development at FareShare Greater Manchester, said: ‘Caleb’s donation to FareShare Greater Manchester came totally unexpected and our whole team were amazed and deeply touched by his letter.
‘Caleb, at just ten years old, sets an amazing example and we can all learn from his thoughtfulness and generosity.
‘Speaking to he and his mum today about our new warehouse which is in need of refurbishment, they have even told us they would like to fundraise for us – we cannot thank them enough for their support during what is a really difficult time for millions of families across the UK. We think he deserves a Blue Peter badge too.’
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