Marcus Rashford praises great-great grandmother, 89, baking pies to feed children during half-term


Footballer Marcus Rashford has praised the efforts of a great-great-grandmother who has baked hundreds of pies to help feed hungry children during half-term.

Flo Osborne, 89, has rallied to the Manchester United player’s calls and has thrown herself into pie-making to help feed those going hungry – producing as many as 20 pies a day.

Flo can bake two or three pies in one go in her tiny kitchen in Harwich, Essex, but has made hundreds through lockdown for her community – and now many that will feed children over the half term break. 

Flo Osborne, 89, has made hundred of pies in her tiny kitchen in Harwich, Essex during lockdown and has recently concentrated her efforts to help feed hungry schoolchildren during half-term 

The great-great-grandmother of five rallied to the Manchester United player's calls and has made as many as 20 pies a day

The great-great-grandmother of five rallied to the Manchester United player’s calls and has made as many as 20 pies a day

Last night, 22-year-old Marcus Rashford tweeted his appreciation for Flo to his 3.7 million followers, writing: ‘I’m going to leave you with Flo because she is amazing.’

And he re-tweeted another Twitter account affiliated with his #EndChildFoodPoverty campaign, which also posted about Flo’s amazing efforts.

The account, named The Rashford Way, posted: ’89 years old, baker Flo Osborne has thrown herself into pie-making during lockdown to help feed the hungry.

‘My question is simple, what are you waiting for then? Help in any way possible.

‘Flo is a true angel and a mother to many vulnerable. Thank you so much ma’am.’ 

Many of Rashford’s followers replied praising Flo, calling her an ‘amazing woman’, with one person writing: ‘New slogan – don’t be a Boris, be a Flo.’

Flo, who is a great-great grandmother of five, gets up at the crack of dawn – sometimes as early as 4.30am – to get to work in her small kitchen in her sheltered accommodation in Harwich.

Last night Marcus Rashford, 22, tweeted about Flo, writing: 'I'm going to leave you with Flo because she is amazing'

Last night Marcus Rashford, 22, tweeted about Flo, writing: ‘I’m going to leave you with Flo because she is amazing’

She said she had seen Rashford’s campaign on the news, and thought it was a ‘lovely idea’.

Flo said: ‘I have been baking pies throughout lockdown to help vulnerable people in the community, and I love doing it. 

‘It keeps me going, and gives me something to do.

‘But I thought, I would love to help the little ones, too. I’ve even been thinking about baking miniature pies for the children.

‘Some people say I’m mad, but I just tell them that I love to help other people. If I can help them, I will.’

Flo, who pays for all her own ingredients for the pies, says that her most popular pie is her cherry pie – but that she also likes to bake apple pies, and even makes savoury steak pies.

Flo, who pays for all her own ingredients for the pies, says that her most popular pie is her cherry pie - but that she also likes to bake apple pies, and even makes savoury steak pies

Flo, who pays for all her own ingredients for the pies, says that her most popular pie is her cherry pie – but that she also likes to bake apple pies, and even makes savoury steak pies

She also does not follow any recipe, and does not weigh any of her ingredients out – having learnt to bake simply from watching her own mother.

She said: ‘People always ask me for my recipe, or ask me what my secret is.

‘But there’s no secret, it’s just comes naturally.

‘I just mix the pastry up the way I want it to. I know what it should feel like so I go with that.’

Flo has baked almost 200 pies since the beginning of April, which she donates to community group North Essex Support Team, run by firefighter Les Nicoll. 

She said she had seen Rashford's campaign on the news, and thought it was a 'lovely idea'

She said she had seen Rashford’s campaign on the news, and thought it was a ‘lovely idea’

Les, 69, said: ‘We love Flo. She’s an absolute dream, she’s amazing.

‘We have lots of people who send us cheesecakes or cupcakes to help us out with our food deliveries – but none of them are 89. She’s definitely our oldest baker.

‘We probably get about 20 pies from Flo every fortnight, and each of them make about 16 servings.

‘But she’ll always make extra pies so that our volunteers can enjoy them, too.’

And he added that she is helping them with extra pies this week during school half-term, as they support extra struggling families who are not getting free school meals for their children. 

Manchester United star has campaigned tirelessly for free school meals provision and this week his petition to the government to end child food poverty passed one million signatures

Manchester United star has campaigned tirelessly for free school meals provision and this week his petition to the government to end child food poverty passed one million signatures 

Les said: ‘We have been approached by social workers who have let us know which families are really struggling during the half-term week.

‘So we’re doing a separate hot menu especially for those families this week, where we’ll be delivering portions of spaghetti bolognese out to them.

Rashford has called on Boris Johnson to extend the free school meals vouchers over the half-term break

Rashford has called on Boris Johnson to extend the free school meals vouchers over the half-term break

‘And without a doubt they’ll also be getting a slice of Flo’s pie with custard. Everybody we deliver food to gets a slice of Flo’s pie.’

Meanwhile, Flo’s son Graham has said how proud he is of his mum for her efforts during lockdown.

He said: ‘I’ve always been proud of her. She’s great, and she’s been doing amazing.

‘I grew up with her baking, so I think I kind of took it for granted. But I think what she’s been doing is brilliant, it’s really excellent.

‘Even now, at almost 90, if I turned around to her and said, ‘Do you think you could bake 20 pies today?’, she wouldn’t flinch.

‘She says it gives her something to do during the day, and gives her a reason to get up in the morning.

‘She’s very caring. If she thinks she can do something for someone, she will.’

And as for Flo, she said: ‘I’ll keep on baking for as long as I can.’

Marcus Rashford (middle) was recently awarded an MBE for his work feeding underprivileged children

Marcus Rashford (middle) was recently awarded an MBE for his work feeding underprivileged children

This comes as Marcus Rashford’s petition to the government to end child food poverty passed one million signatures on Wednesday evening. 

The Manchester United striker was recently granted an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list for his services for his work in feeding underprivileged children. 

Earlier this year, Rashford forced Boris Johnson into a U-turn over providing free school meal vouchers for 1.3million children during the summer holidays.

He has renewed his fight against food poverty and hopes the petition will shame the Government into action into extending the voucher system over the October half-term break.

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