Rio Ferdinand says it's "surreal" to be recognised with an OBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
This week, the Manchester United legend, who established the Rio Ferdinand Foundation – which aims to support young people in disadvantaged communities, as well as raise awareness for breast cancer after his wife Rebecca died from the disease at age 34 back in 2015 - was rewarded by the British monarch for his charity work.
The 43-year-old retired footballer took to social media to express his gratitude over the accolade.
In a video posted on his Instagram, he called it a “huge achievement” and credited his mum for inspiring him to start up the foundation.
Underneath the video he also left a heartfelt message, which read: “It’s an absolute honour to be recognised on the Queens Birthday Honours List.
"Growing up in Peckham, I never dreamt this would ever be a possibility, so to be recognised with this honour is surreal.
Football gave me the platform to travel the world but also the voice to help others. It’s been an honour working with different communities and to help others with similar backgrounds to follow their dreams.
My journey hasn’t been possible without my family friends, the love support is what has allowed me to strive make change. As a child my parents always enforced hard work, perseverance consistency and it is these traits that have led me to where I am today.
I am also very grateful for the efforts of everyone involved in the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, especially Gary Stannett and Rhiannon Watts who have worked with me in a variety of roles since the Foundation started over ten years ago, and Victoria Lowe who has driven our work in Manchester for a number of years now.
It’s a proud day and one I will never forget.