England captain Sarah Hunter has contributed to the current campaign to end child poverty by paying for free school meal vouchers at her former primary school.
The 35-year-old has covered the costs for every family entitled to the vouchers over the half-term period at Benton Dene Primary in North Shields, as Marcus Rashford’s campaign continues to grow.
The Manchester United striker launched a petition calling on the Government to extend its provision for free school meals into the half-term break, with nearly one million signatures to date.
And Hunter – who is approaching her 100th cap for the Red Roses, although will miss out on this weekend’s Women’s Six Nations finale through injury – was eager to help out in any way she could.
“I thought I’d like to do something to support this, but wasn’t sure how and then it just dawned on me that I could help the primary school I used to go to and I’ve still got really close ties to it,” the England captain said.
“My niece goes there, a lot of my friend’s children go there and that’s the connection I have. That’s where I first started rugby, so if it hadn’t been for them, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today.
“So I made a few enquiries to find out whether they had support from anyone, and when I found out that they hadn’t I said that this was something I’d like to do to support the local community.”
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 27, 2020
Benton Dene Primary took to Facebook to thank their former student, in a post which read: “Sarah Hunter MBE, who is a former pupil and captain of England’s women’s rugby union team, has been in touch to say that she would like to buy a voucher for all of our free school meal families.
“She said she wants to be able to give back to a school who gave her so much. We are so touched by this amazing act of kindness and hope you will all join us in saying a huge thank you for this selfless act.”
Hunter’s act of kindness came just hours after England were crowned Women’s Six Nations champions once again after France’s 13-13 draw with Scotland on Sunday.
The Red Roses skipper will be unavailable for this weekend’s clash with Italy with a hamstring injury, as her side look to secure back to back Grand Slam victories.
Despite missing out on the last match of the Championship, England head coach Paul Middleton was full of praise for the skipper, for her achievements on and off the field.
“The biggest accolade you could give Sarah is that she is an even greater person than she is a player and she is a great, great player. She is an amazing person.” Middleton said.