St Albans schoolboy’s Abbey to Abbey ramble triumph

Charlie's friends turned up at the finish at St Albans Abbey to cheer him home and congraulate him o

Charlie's friends turned up at the finish at St Albans Abbey to cheer him home and congraulate him on his tremendous achievement. - Credit: Archant

An energetic young fundraiser celebrated an ‘Abbey’ New Year by walking between two of the South East’s most prominent churches to raise money for Syrian migrants in Europe.

Charlie Sheard, nine, undertook his ‘ramble for refugees’ and walked over 22 miles between Waltham and St Albans Abbey on January 2.

The Cunningham Hall Junior School pupil was inspired to collect donations after reading the story of a young Syrian child who had spent three years travelling across continents to a small town on the Austria/German border, crossing seas in dinghies and living in forests in the process.

Charlie explained his thought process on his justgiving page in the run up to the walk.

He said: “It may seem like a huge distance, but compared to the Syrian refugees it is a teeny fraction of what they travel. I want to feel the pain they go through.”

The journey took the selfless strider almost 10 hours to complete, starting out from Waltham Abbey at 8am and finishing in St Albans just before 6pm.

Accompanied by dad Richard, the pair were alone for the majority of the walk but did receive a welcome boost as they were cheered on by family and friends near Cuffley.

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The world of stage and TV also weighed in to spur Charlie on, as EastEnders actor Jake Wood texted a message of encouragement from the dressing room of the Alban Arena, where he was starring as Captain Hook in the pantomime Peter Pan.

With a few miles to go the weather turned for the worse and the now flagging youngster relied on updates of the money he had raised and the support of school friends and family, who joined in the walk up the Alban Way with torches and uplifting cheers.

Arriving at the Abbey, Charlie was greeted by more friends with the reward of chocolate and a very large ‘Well Done Charlie’ sign.

The walk has raised over three times its £500 target, thanks in part to an article publised in the Herts Advertiser in the run up to Christmas.

Charlie said: ‘Wow, I am glad to say that Operation Ramble for Refugees is accomplished and the walk was, on the whole, good. The support crew were very supportive.

“At 14-18 miles I will admit I cried for 15 seconds because of a sharp pain in my foot. I must say a huge thank you to everyone who supported me, donated and walked with me for 3 miles at the end - if you hadn’t the operation may have failed. I hope the money raised will help lots of refugees have a better life’.

Although Charlie suffered no ill effects and his legs didn’t ache the next day, when asked if he would like to repeat his walk the following weekend, he said ‘no thanks’.

Donations can still be made by going to Charlie’s Just Giving Page -