Marcus Rashford mural messages to be preserved for the city

The thousands of heartfelt messages left on the mural of footballer Marcus Rashford in Withington, Manchester will be carefully removed this Friday 23 July to preserve them, ahead of an expected change in the weather which has been forecast from this weekend.

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.

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

Meanwhile Rashford has defended his off-field partnerships ahead of a yet to be published story suggesting he “benefited commercially” from his campaigning for free school meals for more than one million children.

The Manchester United forward said on Twitter on Tuesday evening that political magazine The Spectator was set to run a story suggesting he has “benefited commercially” from his campaigning.