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More than £32,000 raised to protect Marcus Rashford mural

A mural in Withington, created to honour Rashford's fight to end child food poverty, was vandalised with racist abuse. A local organisation has plans to protect it

Locals have raised more than £32,000 in less than a day to repair and protect the mural of England footballer Marcus Rashford in his hometown after it was defaced by vandals following the Euro 2020 final loss to Italy.

Withington Walls, a street art project in the Manchester suburb, set up the crowdfunder when the mural was graffitied with racist abuse following Rashford’s penalty miss at Wembley in the European Championship final.

The response in Withington, Manchester and across the nation has been unbelievable,” the organisation said. “We are proud to be a part of it too.” The mural was created by local street artist Akse in partnership with Withington Walls to recognise the footballer’s determined campaigning against child food poverty.

“The England team may have lost, but they have done us proud on and off the pitch,” an organisation spokesperson added. “This team has shown us the nation we can be. They have proved that diversity is our strength.”

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Akse repaired the mural today, July 13, as onlookers watched. The money raised will go towards repairing costs, Withington Walls said, and any surplus will be spent on CCTV, protective paint or additional artworks in the area. Nearly 1,800 people have donated to the cause so far.

If the community raises more money than the organisation needs to maintain the murals, the cash will go to anti-racism and food bank charities.

People flocked to the Marcus Rashford mural after news of the vandalism broke, covering the wall in messages of hope and gratitude for the 23-year-old striker.

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Rashford – as well as teammates Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka – were targeted by racist abuse on social media shortly after England’s defeat at Wembley, which was later condemned by politicians and public figures.

“I dreamt of days like this,” Rashford said in a note on Twitter. “The messages I’ve received today have been positively overwhelming and seeing the response in Withington had me on the verge of tears. The communities that always wrapped their arms around me continue to hold me up.

“I’m Marcus Rashford, 23-year-old black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester. If I have nothing else I have that.”

Greater Manchester Police received a report of racially aggravated damage in the early hours of Monday, July 12, and launched an investigation.

“Hate crime in any form is completely unacceptable and not welcome here in our city,” Chief Superintendent Paul Savill said.

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