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Charltonlife meet the Upbeats.

Through my eyes...............

Arriving at the training ground on Saturday morning we were met by Carl and members of his team, after gathering us all together and all the introductions made we were led through a collection of portacabins including the one used by the prozone team renamed the "Bradley Pritchard Suite" by a quick witted AFKA Bartram. Having rustled up enough cups for tea and coffees, we were given an eye opening summery on how difficult it is to get funds from any source possible to keep this going week in week out.
Its not often my mouth stays shut, but the dedication shown by Carl and his team was amazing and I sat saying nothing with glassy eyes noticed only (hopefully) by my wife. After leaving the office we were shown the garden made purely by the efforts once again of Carl and his team, where the family and friends can watch in relative comfort.
We were then asked to make our way through to meet the Upbeats, back through the way we came to the car park where we collected Bailey who had waited patiently in the car we drove through to get him as close as possible to the dome where the Upbeats training takes place. We left him in the car as we walked into the arena where I immediately noticed the noise of excited youngsters who obviously were pleased to be there. As someone who is rubbish with names I wont even try to remember them but there certainly some characters, as we watched Carl spoke to me with reference to Bailey as some of the parents had mentioned some of the children maybe wary of him. We agreed I would collect him from the car and bring him in the building quietly and just walk around the outside of the pitches just so he can be seen but was a distance from causing any upset. We made our way towards the younger players pitch as they would finish earlier, within seconds Bailey was engulfed by children. Never having seen Bailey with as many children at once before I was on my guard, he is trained to a very high standard but I would be foolish to relax as at the end of the day Bailey is an animal. Bailey's test of character came quicker than I thought as he caught a stray finger straight in the eye, he merely flinched and the let the child hug him as if his life depended on it. One or two youngsters insisted Bailey must know "Tricks" an expression I'm not keen on but I knew what was meant, can he sit? I was asked, telling them they would have to ask him they all screamed in unison "SIT" poor Bailey looked even more confused but kept his focus on me, seeing him watching I signalled Bailey to sit which had gone unnoticed, this was met with howls of laughter from there they moved on to "DOWN" and "PAW" which was met with even more laughter which became infectious as more youngsters joined in. We then moved on to some parents who thanked us for being there and asked they could take photos. Never have I felt more humble than I did on saturday,

Part One.
The older Upbeats to follow............................ unless someone else wants to do it? ;)image


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Roland Out Forever!