We first met Charlie Lacey last year; an eight-year-old driven to do something to help those in Victoria struggling with relentless COVID shutdown measures and lockdowns.
In a letter penned to the Brisbane Lions in July 2021, Charlie said;
“I would love to help a family and two pensioners who are having a tough time financially from COVID.
“My sister lost her job from COVID so I know it can be really hard. Not all people can afford to go to watch a Lions game and take their children.
“It’s more important to pay bills. It’s more important to put food on the table. It’s more important to me to make a family smile and have a happy day watching our Lions play a game.”
Washing cars, baking cakes and saving up his pocket money, Charlie raised more then $1,500 to be used for Victorian based supporters who had missed out on the opportunity to watch the Lions play live during COVID.
In a cruel twist of fate, one of many the pandemic has delivered, the funds were set to be utilised last year for one lucky family….but days before the game Victoria would enter another lockdown – one that lasted four months.
Fast forward to last Sunday 31 July, and Charlie’s very generous gift of the Ultimate Brisbane Lions Football Experience in Melbourne was finally realised when the Lions faced Richmond at the MCG.
Lions members Lisa Symons, Ryan Kimberley and their two children, and pensioners Paul Cavanagh and his wife Kerryn enjoyed the fruits of Charlie’s labour.
After experiencing their fair share of hardship in recent times, the six lucky recipients, all from country Victoria, were thrilled and very emotional by Charlie’s gesture.
“Just before COVID hit, I had open heart surgery. It took the wind out of me and it really deflated me trying to recovery while being in constant lockdown,” said Paul Cavanagh.
“I’ve had lots of battles with my health and Sunday was the first full AFL game I’ve been too since I had the surgery in 2019.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Charlie and the awesome little boy he is. He is a huge asset to the Lions. What he’s done, means the world to me.
Using the funds raised by Charlie in 2020, the Club hosted guests in a first-class facility at the MCG for the game – including food, premium seats and merchandise. Charlie also coordinated a donation of one night’s accommodation from Brady Hotels in Melbourne’s CBD.
“It meant so much to Charlie to have been able to meet the families he raised money for and spend time with him,” said Charlie’s Mum, Clare.
“It’s his 10th birthday on Friday and he said to me it’s the best birthday present he could ask for – seeing those people happy.
“He was also so happy to see Rhys – the beast – playing. Rhys (along with Richy) are is his favourite players and he and his mum donated to Charlie’s cause, so that was extra special.”
Congratulations and well done Charlie! And a very happy birthday from everyone at the Brisbane Lions.