Taking Football to Africa & Beyond Appeal
MC Environmental recently donated a VIP Hospitality matchday experience at Leeds Utd v Chelsea in the Premier League in order to raise funds for the Taking Football to Africa and Beyond Appeal which was set up in the memory of Charlotte Hope by her father Neil. We first learned of the appeal through one of our friends Warrant Officer Daniel Jackson and felt compelled to donate to their charity.
Charlotte Hope, at the age of only 19, was tragically killed in car crash on April 9th 2022 that also seriously injured her loving mum, Helen. The tragedy has absolutely rocked all who knew her, and their lives will never be the same again, especially those of Helen and Charlotte’s doting father, Neil.
Charlotte had always wanted to become a primary school teacher and was studying at Edge Hill University in order to realise this dream. Alongside side her passion for teaching was a love of helping others. Be they family, friends or total strangers Charlotte would always do her best for anyone and everyone who needed something. One way that this manifested itself was through Neil’s ‘Taking Football to Africa and Beyond Appeal’, which delivers aid through football to those who need it across the world, especially Kenya. Charlotte became involved from a young age, and it was on one of the appeal’s trips to kenya that she was introduced to the Restart Centre in Gilgil.
Restart was established in 2008 by Mary Coulson in response to the desperate needs of the street children in Gilgil, one of the poorest areas in Kenya. The centre rescues children, cares for them, feeds them, helps educate them and perhaps most importantly, loves them. To say Charlotte fell in love with Restart would be a huge understatement, it changed her life. She ended up volunteering there as a sixteen-year-old and made the decision that once she was a qualified teacher, she would work in Kenya so that she could continue her involvement with Restart. Charlotte was so excited about the prospect of this dream becoming a reality but sadly this was not to be.
From the depths of the tragedy the family wanted there to be some good, some hope and a legacy for their wonderful daughter. The natural way for this to happen seemed to be to support Restart, maybe enough could be raised to get a child or 2 off the streets, maybe one through school and university even? Who knew what would happen next?
A Just Giving page was created so that friends and family could give what they could, but then something happened that nobody was expecting. The site absolutely exploded, donations came flooding in from literally all over the world from friends, colleagues and even strangers – testament to the person Charlotte was and her family’s standing. Before long it was over £10,000 and showed no signs of slowing down. This astoundment from Helen and Neil was accompanied with discussions of how much good it could do at Restart and just how amazed Charlotte would be. Given Neil’s longstanding love affair with football a charity football match and accompanying auction of mainly football memorabilia and prizes was arranged too. This was kindly hosted by Market Drayton Football Club and saw two games played. One was a ‘friendly’ game between Charlotte’s friends from home play against her university friends, this fantastic event saw numerous people play a game for the first time in years, and in some cases ever. The second saw an All-Stars team from RAF Shawbury take on a team made up of ex-professionals and several current and ex England internationals from across different disability pathways. Following two extremely enjoyable games played in great spirit and greater heat there followed the auction. Running live and on-line everyone really bought into the event and bid hard for some outstanding and unique lots. The day raised in excess of £10,000, which is so much more than we could have hoped for.
At last count the total raised sits at over £35,000 which is both a staggering and overwhelming amount. It is testament to the wonderful young woman that Charlotte Hope was, but undoubtedly more important to her, it will change countless lives immeasurably. A legacy was the goal, and due to so many peoples generosity and love Charlotte’s legacy and memory will live on at home and at Restart forever.