After receiving over 100 nominations from people all across Shropshire, Charlie Williams from Orleton was picked as our mascot for the Aston Villa game on Sunday after Town boss Sam Ricketts read about his incredible resilience over the past three years as he has battled against leukaemia.
We wanted the Shrewsbury Town in the Community mascot place for the Aston Villa game to go to someone from the local area who deserved it most and despite some very receiving some very deserving nominees, Shrewsbury Town manager, Sam Ricketts decided that Charlie was most deserving through his strength, courage and determination to not allow his condition to stop him enjoying playing football. After Charlie had been chosen, Sam Ricketts decided to surprise him before the Shrewsbury Town vs Newport County fixture at Ludlow Football Stadium. The Town manager gave the Ludlow ADC group a team talk about resilience and strength in the face of adversity to the group before revealing that he had come to award Charlie with the mascot place ahead of this weekend’s game.
Charlie was diagnosed with a form of leukaemia in May 2016 and has undergone intensive treatment including chemotherapy and taking steroids every day. The steroid treatment has required a tube to be installed into Charlie’s chest in order to deliver the medication most effectively. It has also had an effect on Charlie’s muscles and nerves meaning that he struggled to walk when treatment first began. However in spite of this Charlie has continued to play football for Orleton U7s, rarely missing a training session and he now also attends Shrewsbury Town in the Community’s Advanced Development Centre in Ludlow. His coaches have remarked that Charlie has never let his condition hinder him and always gives 100% in training and in matches, sometimes even taking morphine to get him through the session due to the pain.
Charlie’s love of football and desire to play despite battling his condition has been a great source of inspiration for those around him and his mother, Mel, said that he was “determined to not let it beat him” and that football has been a huge part in helping him to get through treatment. His coach at Orleton Juniors also spoke of how Charlie did not allow his condition to get in the way of his football. “He sometimes has morphine before training and matches so that pain does not inhibit him playing. Despite all this, I have never heard Charlie moan about his condition and he always gives 100%. Football and the friendships that he has made with his teammates has really helped Charlie get through a what has been an awful time for him, his younger brother Harry, and his parents.”
On 27th July, Charlie will be finishing his last round of treatment and will soon find out if his condition is in remission, so ahead of this we wanted to give Charlie the opportunity to have an unforgettable experience of walking out with the teams as a way to recognise his courage and determination. We hope that Charlie and his family had a fantastic day at Montgomery Waters Meadow and we want to them to know that everyone at Shrewsbury Town is thinking of them as Charlie’s treatment comes to an end!