Charlie Webster

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor

 

She may be most recognisable for providing the nation with breaking sports news, but television presenter Charlie Webster is set to create some headlines of her own, all in aid of charity.

The former Newcastle Univeristy student returned to Tyneside last week, visiting United's Benton-based Training Centre to launch Charlie's Big Challenge - a football charity event like no other.

Starting on Sunday, 26th January, 2014, Sky Sports News anchor Charlie will run 250 miles in seven days between 40 football clubs, with one goal: to end domestic violence.

The gruelling challenge will raise funds for Women's Aid, a charity for which Charlie is an ambassador, and the 30-year-old was supported by Magpies' stars including Moussa SissokoRyan Taylor and Yoan Gouffran in her bid to raise at least £40,000.

"I came up with the idea towards the end of last year, so it has been in the pipeline for a while now and it has just been a case of working really closely with Women's Aid to make it happen," Charlie told nufc.co.uk at the launch.

"I've done a few marathons and wanted to do something that would inspire other people but also raise money for a charity which is close to my heart.

"The two things I love are running and football so I wanted to bring them both together to help people raise money for Women's Aid.

"And Newcastle is the perfect place to announce it. I went to university here, so it's a city I'm very close to and one I come back to whenever I can.

"I love the city so much and Newcastle United is a great football club at the heart of the community."

Charlie's Big Challenge, sponsored by Alpari, will kick-start Football United against Domestic Violence, a campaign to unite fans, clubs, and players at all levels of the game to raise funds for Women's Aid and show that football stands united against domestic violence.

And that is reflected in Charlie's route around England during those challenging seven days - taking in not only Premier League clubs but also those in the Championship, League One and League Two, as well as some grassroots teams.

Running up to 40 miles a day and for anything between eight and 12 hours, it is inspirational and exhausting in equal measure. But Charlie hopes that seeing the donations mount up will provide added motivation when the going gets tough.

I've only ever done a marathon so this is something hugely different and will massively challenge me," she said.

"I train, but this is something else and I'm really stepping out of my comfort zone.

"I'm not daft; I know I've let myself in for a huge challenge, both physically and mentally. It's going to hurt my body but it will also be tough to keep myself motivated.

"There will be pain and tears, I'm sure, but to see that people are getting behind me, supporting me and donating, it will really help me.

"The bottom line is that one in four people suffer from domestic violence at some point in their life, and that is horrendous. I want to try and put a stop to it. Hopefully my challenge can inspire people and help raise us loads and loads of money to do just that."

To play your part, sponsor Charlie at www.justgiving.com/charliesbigchallenge.

Charlie's Big Challenge is Charlie's personal best challenge or 'PB' as ambassador for Britain's Personal Best (www.whatsyours.org)