Young people from several local schools joined a procession on Saturday 17 March as part of Red, White and Black Day celebrations.
Around 200 people attended the annual event to celebrate equality and inclusion despite the cold weather. Young people from Cardwell Primary School, Alexander McLeod Primary, Cherry Orchard School and Charlton Toy Library all made banners under the parade theme: All Different; All Special; All Together.
Organised by the club’s Player Liaison Officer, Tracey Leaburn, and Dr Michael Seeraj and Vikki Moorhouse from Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT), the event saw pupils walk from Charlton Station to The Valley alongside a number of Charlton Athletic players past and present.
Charlton legends Carl Leaburn and Jason Euell were joined by defender Lewis Page, Charlton Athletic Women’s FC Captain Kim Dixson, and several U23 players. The procession was also attended by Matt Baker, the Pastoral Support Director in English football, who oversees all club chaplains in the country.
Young people from CACT’s NCS team and Young Greenwich, the universal youth service CACT delivers on behalf of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, also took part.
Last year’s procession had celebrated 25 years of the Charlton Athletic Race & Equality Partnership (CARE), and CARE was represented this year by its co-chair, Cllr Denise Scott-McDonald, the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Creative Industries & Community Wellbeing.
Dr Michael Seeraj, CACT’s Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, said:
“So many people turned up – we weren’t expecting that many. The event is incredibly important in terms of representing the range of work we do in the community around tackling discrimination and promoting equality.”
Carl Leaburn said:
“Diversity is something I’m passionate about and my wife is passionate about; I know she’s been a big driver in the event as well. It affects me, my son, my daughter, so I had to come.”
Tracey Leaburn said:
“We were so pleased with the turnout and support we got on Red, White and Black Day. The schoolchildren did a fantastic job designing their banners and it was great that so many Charlton fans got involved too.
“Charlton and the Community Trust have done so much on the equality and diversity over the years and it is important we keep this tradition going not only with days like Saturday but also all the seminars run before and after what was a great event. “
Jason Morgan MBE, CACT’s Chief Executive, said:
“We’ve led the way with this kind of work. It’s something we’ve continued to do. Every time we do events like this, we get old players back. Carl’s here, Jason Euell’s here, because they know how important it is to be part of it”.
Photo credit: Connor Holmes