Friday 21 May 2021 9:23 am

Sunday Times Rich List: Marcus Rashford tops the UK's biggest givers

Manchester United football player Marcus Rashford has become the youngest person to top The Sunday Times Giving List this year, which measures philanthropy among the ultra-wealthy.

The list highlighted today that the UK saw more new billionaire’s during the pandemic than any other time over the list’s 33-year history. However, this year also saw a record amount of donations, exceeding £4bn for the first time.

The £4.3bn in total gifted by the UK’s richest over the past 12 months, was topped by Rashford, 23, who stepped onto the Young Rich List for the first time this year with £16m in his back pocket.

Covid-19 has fueled the giving spree, according to the newspaper, which recorded nine donations of more than £100m.

Rashford became a household name over the pandemic, as he spearheaded a high-profile campaign to get children eligible for free school meals fed regularly while school doors were shut during lockdown.

The footballer’s efforts as an ambassador for food poverty charity FareShare, sparked around £20m worth of donations.

“Marcus’s support for FareShare over the last year – and his commitment to tackling child hunger-has simply been incredible,” chief executive of FareShare, Lindsay Boswell said.

“His own experience of relying on free school meals to eat, brings authenticity and compassion to his campaigning, and his status as a Premier League footballer, means people and politicians sit up and take notice.” 

Prime minister Boris Johnson took back his pledge not to extend the school meal, two days after Rashford called on the cabinet to reconsider the decision in an open letter.

Then in October, the striker secured £170 million of extra funding from ministers after launching a petition to again extend free school meals through the half-term and Christmas holidays.

The list, which showed a 36.1 per cent rise from last year’s £3.16bn donations, also hosted captain of the Liverpool team Jordan Henderson.

The football chief, ranked sixth, donated £4m to the NHS from fellow Premier League footballers through the #PlayersTogether coronavirus appeal. 

Serial sponsors the Sainsbury family ranked second in the list after their network of trusts churned out just under £230m for charities. Auckland Project lead Jonathan Ruffer, was third with £62m gifted in 2020, as he aims to regenerate the former County Durham mining town.