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Home > News > Charlie is the darling of Charlton Park
Your News Charlie is the darling of Charlton Park

South East London teenager Charlie Watson is yet another shining example of just how rugby union and sport in general can be a huge boost to a young persons self-esteem and put a real sense of purpose back into their everyday lives.

The 18 year-old was hitting the slippery slopes and had been sent to the New Haven Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) from Blackheath Bluecoats School until, thanks to the Wooden Spoon and Barclays Fairplay scheme, he became an active participant within the local rugby community which, in turn, incentivised him to carve out his own personal career path.

As a member of the first Metropolitan Kent scheme (Met Kent) run at the Kidbrooke based Charlton Park RFC he was eager to engage in both the rugby training and the life skills sections and he soon became the stand-out participant of his group.

Charlie admits: I never wanted to do anything before I came to Charlton Park, I just wanted to get in to fights all the time and was always out late.

I didnt want to go to school - I hated it. I enjoyed the project though. It made me want to start to play rugby, it got me motivated and gave me a reason to go to school.

I met some really nice people too; people that helped me get into the training.

Off the back of the scheme Charlie went on to play for Charlton Park as well as, in his own time, helping the clubs groundsman maintain the facilities while also assisting the clubs Youth Development Officer Bert Duffus out with his local community coaching sessions.

It also meant that he returned from New Haven for the local Lewisham College where he passed his first year with distinction and made a lot of new friends.

I left there with seven GCSEs and have now signed up for the Army. he reveals proudly. If it wasnt for the project Id still be doing the same things as I was before.

As well as being a personal triumph for Charlie its also a feather in the cap of the England RFUs Community Rugby Coaches Dan Buckland, Neil Smith and Phil Davis who have supported him all of the way.

Davis says: Charlie is an exceptional example of how rugby can bring structure and motivation as well as enjoyment to the lives of a lot of young people that often need it more than most.

All the coaches he's come into contact with are really proud of the progress he's made and also happy it was our scheme that helped him get started.

The RFU trio have had similar successes with other participants such as Clint Tebu and Marcus Dyce, 17, from Abbey Manor PRU who are both now enrolled in full-time education at Bromley College and playing for Beckenham RFC and Jahva Pasquini, 12, from Barnets Pavilion Study Centre who is now playing at Finchley RFC.

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