More than 200 supporters walked from Sparrows Lane to The Valley on Saturday 13 April as part of the annual fundraising walk for the much-loved Charlton Upbeats.
There is still time to donate, but the walk has already generated more than £19,500 for the programme. Charlton Athletic Community Trust’s (CACT’s) Upbeats programme is entirely funded by voluntary donations, so every penny counts towards keeping it running.
Former Charlton Athletic quartet Robert Lee, Bob Bolder, Paul Mortimer and Simon Webster were among those who took part in the fifth annual walk, which involved a nine-mile route through Eltham, Oxleas Wood and Shooters Hill.
The Upbeats met walkers at the halfway point at Severndroog Castle, offering them water and snacks.
After the walk, which this year finished pitchside, the Upbeats took to the pitch themselves, welcoming Derby County’s Down’s syndrome team and Sutton United’s pan-disability team as this year’s opponents.
The Upbeats won both their games, showcasing why they are eight-time DS Active National Champions, but all three teams played their part in an excellent mini-tournament.
Tracey Leaburn, Charlton’s Player Liaison Officer, said:
“Once again it was another brilliant day. I really enjoy taking part in the walk every year, and it was lovely to see familiar faces and chat to the Upbeats along the way!
“I’d like to thank the Charlton players for sponsoring me and [Club Secretary] Chris Parkes. The Upbeats programme is amazing and it’s great to see the Charlton family come together for it.”
All Charlton players and first-team management staff sponsor Tracey and Chris each year.
Paul Geary, Head Groundsman at Sparrows Lane, also did the walk, while midfielder Jake Forster-Caskey presented medals to the Upbeats and their counterparts after the mini-tournament.
Charlton Athletic Women’s FC Captain Grace Coombs and teammate Charley Clifford also took part in this year’s walk.
“The club is like one big family, everyone doing things together. We get a lot of support from all the other areas of the club so I think it’s great that we can support the Upbeats and everyone is supporting it because it’s a big part of the club and they’re all great kids, they talk to you all the time.
“I think it’s important to support everything that goes on at the club – not just the men’s team or us as the women’s team; supporting all the work CACT do as well because it is great work at the end of the day.”
Carl Krauhaus, CACT’s Head of Early Help & Prevention, said:
“We’re delighted to have raised in excess of £19,500 form this year’s Upbeats Walk. There was a great number of walkers, and the Upbeats winning on the pitch topped off a brilliant day. Thanks to everyone who took part or donated!”
CACT has received excellent support from Charlton Life members once again, with thousands of pounds raised via the site, while groups from Charlton Live and CACT’s Principal Partner ITRM also took part in the walk. A group from the latter also volunteered on the day once again, and Managing Director Dave White was among its walkers.