Please see below a letter from Charlton Athletic Supporters' Trust (CAST) detailing how Charlton fans can help support their 'In The Picture' fundraiser.
"It's been a lifeline for me. It allows me to feel included. It lets me be part of the occasion. It would break my heart not to be part of The Valley atmosphere."
Do you remember the moment in November 2001 when Jonatan Johannson scored a 90th minute bicycle kick to equalise in a 4-4 draw against West Ham? Can you imagine being at The Valley that night but not being able to see the action? Cheers and shouts and mayhem all around you but you don't really know what has happened?
It was at that West Ham match that Rob Shaw first started providing commentary for partially sighted supporters within the stadium. Individuals were able to pick up a receiver and headset from reception and to sit anywhere in the ground safe in the knowledge that Rob would make sure they were kept completely up with the action. His commentary meant that they could be fully immersed in the drama rather than just being a confused onlooker.
22 years later the service is still provided by a dedicated team of Charlton-supporting volunteers. Rob has been joined by Harry Low, Jamie Whitehead and Dave Lockwood who provide passionate and descriptive commentaries of every game. The problem is that, 22 years later, they are still using the same equipment. The units urgently need replacing. Batteries no longer hold a charge and cannot be replaced. The headphones are simply falling apart.
Ideally the team would like to replace all the kits and thus be able both to meet demand and provide a reliable service. One generous individual has already pledged £1,000 but the cost of 20 units, microphones and headsets is in the region of £6,000. Another £5,000 needs to be raised to maintain the service for the next 20 years.
We know that Charlton fans are generous and we would love to think that fans will support this initiative so that The Valley can continue to be an inclusive place for those partially sighted fans who still want to be there supporting our team.