Families touched by tragic Charlie Gard story host Sunderland fundraiser

Families moved by the tragic death of a little boy who touched the world raised money in his name with a sponsored toddle in Sunderland.

A group of adults and children aged as young as two raised several hundred pounds in the walk at Herrington Country Park on what would have been Charlie Gard’s second birthday.

Taking part in a sponsored toddle in memory of Charlie Gard, at Herrington Countrty park, on Saturday were l-r Stephanie Roundsmith head of communications & fundraising, Charlie Gard Foundation, Alfie Cowan (2), Lola Cowan (4), Oliver Kelly (2) and his mum Rachael Kelly who organised the event.

Taking part in a sponsored toddle in memory of Charlie Gard, at Herrington Countrty park, on Saturday were l-r Stephanie Roundsmith head of communications & fundraising, Charlie Gard Foundation, Alfie Cowan (2), Lola Cowan (4), Oliver Kelly (2) and his mum Rachael Kelly who organised the event.

Charlie, from London, died last year from mitochondrial disease, after a lengthy and controversial legal battle between doctors and Charlie’s family over his treatment.

Rachael Kelly from Washinghton, one of the organisers of Saturday’s event, met Charlie’s mum Connie through a birthing group.

Money raised from the day is going to the Charlie Gard Foundation which will fund research into the disease and support for families affected by it.

Rachael, who took part in the walk with her two-year-old son Oliver, said: “We thought we would do a sponsored toddle because Charlie’s our August Brother to raise money for the foundation.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates with son Charlie. Picture: PA.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates with son Charlie. Picture: PA.

“Hopefully we have raised quite a bit, I know we raised £250. I’m not sure how much everybody else has raised yet but I think we have done pretty well.”

The group, who met through the foundation and the Charlies Army community group, covered around 1km of the country park including some people in wheelchairs.

Rachael said she was proud at how well they had all done.

She added: “It was a good while and we’re all hot and sweaty. The children handled it really well for their little legs.”

Steph Roundsmith, of the Charlie Gard Foundation, which launched at the beginning of June, also took part.

She said: “It would have been Charlie’s second birthday so that’s why we are doing it and it is just something fun.

“The foundation supports families on their mito journey from the start to whatever the end may be covering everything in between such as respite, memory making, home adaptations and bereavement support.”

Similar events took place all over the country as well as overseas including in America, Ireland and Germany.