Charlton Athletic manager Lee Bowyer and the club’s kit man Grant Basey surprised the Charlton Upbeats on Saturday 23 March as they turned up during their session to spend time with the players.
The Charlton Upbeats programme helps support children and adults with Down's syndrome who have a love of football with a range of fun activities to help them learn new skills. The Upbeats have gone on to be DS Active National Champions eight times.
Lee and Grant both made the surprise visit during the session and were eager to ask questions and get to know more about the sessions and what went on.
Carl Krauhaus, Charlton Athletic Community Trust's (CACT) Head of Early Help & Prevention, said no one was expecting it:
“It was unannounced, which was brilliant. They just came in. Obviously, Lee is aware of the programme but popped in to say hello and took part in some games with the lads. They stayed a long time.”
Carl was jubilant at the surprise arrival and pleased with the general interest shown from Lee and Grant throughout the session:
“He spent the first 10 minutes asking some questions about the programme and then they both decided they wanted to get involved with the games. They had a team each, it was Lee vs Grant’s team and they played for about half an hour, 40 minutes.”
The Upbeats were in awe on the day and were all eager to impress the Charlton manager. Carl added: "They loved it. Obviously, quite a few of them are Charlton fans, so they all knew who he was, so they were thrilled to have him there. The Upbeats were well pleased.”
Upbeats sessions run every Saturday for those aged five and over, but the programme is not only sports-based, including a range of social and educational activities.
The Upbeats Walk on April 13th starts at the club's training ground in Sparrows Lane. Everyone that will be part of the event will travel nine miles to make it to The Valley in time for kick-off in the club’s game against Luton Town.
The Upbeats will face Derby County Community Trust's Down's syndrome team and Sutton United's pan-disability team at The Valley from 1.30pm.
Former players Robert Lee, Paul Mortimer, Bob Bolder and Simon Webster will be among those taking part in the walk.
Currently in its 11th year, the Upbeats programme is entirely funded by your voluntary donations. Click here to sign up to the walk and make a difference.
You can donate to the project’s JustGiving page online.