A college tutor inspired by Marcus Rashford’s free school meals campaign has been deluged with food donations after requesting help for struggling students.
James Bashford, who mentors young people at South and City College in Birmingham, shares similar goals to the superstar footballer, and a similar surname.
“Bashford and Rashford, yes, it is quite funny, so in the college I am known as Marcus Bashford-Rashford,” he told Sky News.
“He did inspire me… I know he’s famous but he did give me the courage to make sure I can do it, to believe in myself.
“In essence what I wanted was if you had any spare food at home in the cupboards to bring it in or I could come and collect, but people really got on board and it snowballed from there.
“People would turn up at my house with £40 food shops and say it’s going to a really good charity, going to the students, so I was overwhelmed with people’s kindness.”
So far, the college has enough Christmas food parcels to feed 40 students and their families.
One of the recipients was student nurse Shamara Byron, 28, who is juggling her studies with bringing up two children on a low income.
“I’m not an extravagant mum,” she said.
“I have to budget because it’s just me with the kids and on top of that having to study full-time so, yes, I do struggle.
“But I have to look at the end goal and just think ‘keep going’ and to be a good role model to my kids which is what I’d like to think I am,” she said.
The 28-year-old said she was surprised to be offered a food parcel, adding: “I have got a lot of pride.
“I would rather go without than actually ask for help so I think James literally calling me that day it really did make my day because I’d never really ask for something like this and I’ve got more than I could ever imagine.”
Her daughter Leshayah, 10, and her four-year-old son Ajahni were particularly pleased about the spaghetti and chocolate in the package.
Leshayah said it was “really exciting” and she felt “really grateful”.
Mr Bashford is being helped by volunteers from the college, including student Arsam Morad, who moved to the city as a refugee from Iran two years ago.
“I had the first two months, there was nobody helping me, my feelings, my loneliness,” he said.
“I’m thinking now that I know how others could feel I’m going to help them. I don’t want them to experience the same thing that I did in my past. I’m going to help them no matter what.”