On Saturday 29 April, over 180 Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) supporters gathered to take on the 9-mile Upbeats Walk, sponsored by DNEL Events.
CACT’s annual event was its most successful yet, bringing in over £49,000 for the programme which supports young people and adults with Down’s syndrome. Thanks also to CACT’s Official Events Partner DNEL Events, who sponsored this year’s walk and helped to make it such a success.
All the money the walkers have helped to raise will allow CACT to continue to provide vital opportunities to the Upbeats over the next 12 months, from their regular football training sessions to playing in tournaments across the United Kingdom. There will also be more opportunity to offer Upbeats a range of social and employment-related activities throughout the year.
Ahead of the walkers setting off from New Eltham, CharltonTV’s Scott Minto introduced legends Bob Bolder, Simon Webster and Paul Mortimer, and First-Team Manager Dean Holden.
Despite it being a matchday, Dean even joined one of the walking groups himself for the first part of their journey around New Eltham.
The halfway point for the walkers was at Charlton Lido and Lifestyle Club, where walkers were greeted by the Upbeats and members of the visiting Everton in the Community (EITC) Down’s syndrome team. The pit stop provided the walkers with refreshments, donated by Coca-Cola Europacific Partners.
When reaching the finish line pitchside at The Valley, the walkers were met with a fantastic atmosphere with Upbeats, EITC players and CACT Ambassador Dave Berry among those ready to clap them over the finish line.
The Upbeats and EITC players then got ready to face each other on the pitch. There was so much talent on display, with Everton winning the first game and the Upbeats winning the second thanks to a hat-trick from William Ely, but it was a memorable meeting for all involved.
Men’s first-team player Ryan Inniss presented medals to the Upbeats and EITC players after their games.
Dean Holden said:
“I was at the Training Ground there for the walk, and you can see what it means to them, and it’s not just the guys as well; the families, the siblings, it’s not been an easy time. So, the more we can do to improve their life, we have to do it. Football is a game for everyone.”
Young Upbeat Betsy was delighted to be chosen as a mascot and walked out with the Charlton Athletic and Port Vale first-team players.
At half-time the Upbeats did a lap of honour before gathering pitchside to watch Upbeat Jonathan West take on the Valley Gold Crossbar Challenge! Valley Gold kindly donated £500 to the Upbeats.
After a 3-2 win from Charlton Athletic’s men’s team against Port Vale, Danny Mardell was named as the Player of the Match from the Upbeats game. Danny took part in the 9-mile walk himself and raised over £6000! Charlton Athletic Women players also wore Upbeats t-shirts ahead of their 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace Women on Sunday 30 April.