On Saturday 25th April, the annual Upbeats Walk raised £27,000 for Charlton Athletic Community Trust’s Upbeat project, massively exceeding their original target of £10,000.
The upbeats programme for young people and adult’s with Down’s syndrome has been running for 12 years, funded entirely by voluntary donations. The upbeats walk saw supporters of the cause taking to their gardens and streets to walk a mile to raise money for the Upbeats alongside members of their households.
Lee Bowyer, Charlton Athletic manager, took part on Saturday’s walk in Tunbridge Wells with Upbeat William Kay and his family. Former Charlton players Bob Bolder and Carl Leaburn also joined the fundraising effort, as did Charlton Athletic Community Trust staff and trustees. After his walk, Bowyer said: “That’s our club from start to finish. We know how to stay together and look after each other and our community trust in my eyes is the best in the country. Our fans know when to step forward and help out, so we’re really grateful that they’ve raised that much. That’s great to hear how much has been donated.”
The walk even went international, with the brother of Charlton Upbeat William Cottrell taking part with his family in Portugal. Some supporters walked a longer distance and some even added to the challenge, like Keith Wisdom, who carried a set of gold clubs for the entirety of his walk.
Jacki Birchmore whose son Billy is an Upbeat said: “Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to everyone who supported the Upbeats on the 2020 walk. This fundraising for the Upbeats enables Billy to continue attending the weekly training sessions, playing in matches, gaining confidence and making friendships. Without the Upbeats project and dedication of all the coaches he would not be able to participate in his passion of football.”
Charlton Athletic’s Head of Early Help & Prevention, Carl Krauhaus added: “It was important to us all to ensure we still shone a light on the Upbeats even though our normal approach had to be adapted. All the donations made are very much appreciated and I know the Upbeats and their families were blown away by the messages of support for them all.”
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