Marcus Rashford mural messages of love to be preserved this week

The hundreds of heartwarming notes of support left on Marcus Rashford mural will be saved - and put on display
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Hundreds of heartfelt love notes and England flags were stuck on the mural in Withington, which was defaced following England’s Euro 2020 final defeat.

The street artist AkseP19, who created the portrait, kindly repaired the damage.

Now, the thousands of heartfelt messages left on the mural will be carefully removed this Friday 23rd July to preserve them

Manchester Art Gallery, Central Library’s Archives department, the People’s History Museum, the National Football Museum, the University of Manchester, and the Withington Walls project who first commissioned the mural, have all been involved in discussions on how best to preserve the tributes – to ensure these messages of love, support, and solidarity that mark a shared national moment in our time, aren’t lost to future generations.

Wherever possible messages will be removed individually, however because of the amount of adhesive tape that has been used to fix tributes to the mural, it is more likely that whole sections will have to be lifted and packed on site, and then carefully separated later.  

After their removal from the mural all the messages and tributes will transported to Central Library’s archives department for safe-keeping whilst all partners involved decide how best to make them more widely available.

Once at the Library a team of professionals will set about the delicate process of separating each of the messages, recording, and photographing them.

The artwork was defaced with several swear words shortly after Rashford missed a penalty, along with fellow countrymen Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka.

All three players were also targeted with racist abuse on social media following the match.

Greater Manchester Police launched an investigation after it received a report of racially aggravated damage at the mural in the early hours of Monday morning. GMP also said they were investigating a social media post that was directed at the England players.

A 37-year-old man from Trafford has since been arrested on suspicion of an offence under the Malicious Communications Act.

Rashford posted that he was sorry for missing his penalty, adding that he “wished it had gone differently” and paid a “close to tears” tribute to those who added messages to the mural.

The Manchester United forward also said he was “overwhelmed” as hundreds of people also gathered for an anti-racism demonstration at the mural.

People took a knee at the Stand Up to Racism demo, and several speakers addressed the 700-strong crowd.

No decisions have yet been made on where the messages will eventually be kept – the priority at this stage simply being to preserve them and protect them from the weather.

It’s hoped however that by preserving the messages they can be made available for education and public display in the future as an important and permanent reminder of just what a significant moment in the city and country’s cultural history this has been.

Marcus himself is also to be asked what he would like to happen to them and how he would like them to be used.

“The support and respect shown for Marcus and his teammates over the last week through the thousands of tributes left at his mural has been amazing and wonderful to see,” said Councillor Luthfur Rahma.

“The actions of all those who have turned up in solidarity to see his mural and leave their own messages of love and support for him has ‘Manchester’ stamped all the way through it.  

“We think it’s important this shared moment of solidarity – that started with the placing of just one small message of love on the mural after it was defaced – an action that spoke to the whole country and not just Manchester, is remembered and preserved for future generations.

“We’re reaching out to Marcus with some thoughts on how this could be achieved and to ask what he would like to happen to the tributes, to help create a lasting legacy of tolerance, love, and solidarity for future generations to learn from.”

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