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Mary’s Meals founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow receives top honour

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Charity boss only the 67th Livingstone Medal recipient in 115 years

Mary's Meals' founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow OBE has been awarded the prestigious Livingstone Medal in recognition of his dedication to changing the lives of millions of children across the world.

Awarded by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) the medal recognises outstanding contribution to humanitarian work with a clear geographical dimension.

It's wonderful for Mary's Meals to receive this recognition through the presentation of the Livingstone Medal

Endowed by RSGS co-founder Agnes Livingstone-Bruce in memory of her father Dr David Livingstone it was first awarded in 1901 to explorer Sir Harry H Johnston and had has only been awarded a further 66 times.

MacFarlane-Barrow started Mary’s Meals 15 years ago and has built it from a simple idea to a major charity that feeds more than one million school children in 12 countries around the world every day.

Speaking about the choice to award the Livingstone Medal to MacFarlane-Barrow, Mike Robinson RSGS chief executive said: “As Magnus himself has said: ‘every small act of kindness does make a difference’ and what began as his small act of kindness has undoubtedly made a huge difference to many, many lives.

“Magnus seems to embody the spirit of David Livingstone more than anyone I can think of.

“Aid is of course a complex and multi-faceted issue, and whilst it clearly requires a long term structural response, we should never lose sight of the need for simple basic humanity.

“The simplicity of Mary’s Meals I think underlines that beautifully, and Magnus’ humanity, is evident to everyone who meets him.”

Speaking about receiving the medal, MacFarlane-Barrow said: "When we began this work, we wanted to bring hope to people in desperate situations and help them to change their lives for the better.

“Now there is a global movement of people, all working towards the same goal – that every child receives one daily meal in their place of education.

"It's wonderful for Mary's Meals to receive this recognition through the presentation of the Livingstone Medal, and in turn I'd like to recognise the many wonderful people who contribute to this work, giving their skills, time, donation and prayers to allow us to continue reaching out to the next hungry child."

MacFarlane-Barrow received his medal from RSGS board member Vanessa Collingridge (pictured above).