Schoolboy, nine, is rambling for refugees from Waltham Abbey to St Albans Abbey

Charlie Sheard, 8, and his dad Richard training for their 21-mile abbey to abbey fundraiser

Charlie Sheard, 8, and his dad Richard training for their 21-mile abbey to abbey fundraiser - Credit: Archant

An nine-year-old rambler from St Albans is fastening his walking boots in preparation for a 21-mile walk from Waltham Abbey to St Albans Abbey to raise money for Syrian refugees.

Charlie Sheard and his dad Richard will be starting their cross-country trip bright and early on January 2 and hope to reach their £500 target well before Christmas.

The Cunningham Hill-student told the Herts Advertiser that he first became aware of the refugees’ plight after watching BBC’s Newsround in school.

He said: “It’s not like I woke up and thought, ‘I’ve got an idea – let’s go do a walk for charity’. I was at school and my teacher put Newsround on and there were loads of things about the Syrian refugee crisis and it was really bugging me.

“I was having loads of weird dreams and was thinking about it all the time and it was hard to get it off my mind. I wanted to do something.”


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After learning about the struggles and hardships of those fleeing the war-torn Middle East, Charlie began coming up with ideas to help - which included starting a lemonade stand and doing a sponsored bike ride.

But he settled on a walk, as it seemed the most “challenging” and began working out a route. He said: “We were originally going to walk to London, but then nanny said we should do Waltham Abbey. She said to start at Waltham Abbey and walk back to St Albans.”

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The 21 miles between Waltham Abbey and St Albans Abbey is known to ramblers as ‘St Alban’s Way’ and includes some of Hertfordshire’s most picturesque countryside and historic landmarks, including the two Abbeys and a 14th century church in North Mymms.

Charlie and his dad have begun training, having walked dozens of miles in preparation for the trek, and have developed specific tactics, such as stopping every 5km for an energy bar.

He said: “My target on my JustGiving page is £500 – so far we’ve raised about £220, which is nearly halfway. I’m really pleased because it was only made last Sunday (15) evening. The highest amount of money given in one go was £30.”

On a JustGiving page for the fundraiser, Charlie has written: “You may think this is a huge challenge - and it is. But compared to the Syrian refugees, it’s a teeny tiny fraction of what they travel. I want to feel the pain they feel. We need to help the ever-increasing number of refugees to have a good new life. Please sponsor me on my walk from Abbey to Abbey.”

To sponsor Charlie, visit justgiving.com/rambleforrefugees where you will find Charlie’s full blog and the facility to donate.

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