Sir Bobby Charlton’s sporting exploits and domestic, European and international trophy successes are legendary throughout the footballing world. What is less well known is the work he has done throughout his career for charity, and how he set up his own not-for-profit organisation, The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation, to help people affected by conflict.
Away from the floodlights and packed stadiums, Sir Bobby has used his global fame to draw attention to the plight of the disadvantaged and to give a voice to the voiceless.
It was while travelling in Cambodia as a sporting ambassador for the charity Laureus Sport for Good that he witnessed first-hand the devastating impact that landmines and the legacy a forgotten war was still having on innocent civilian communities. Sir Bobby was shown several minefields during his trip and visited many affected communities. He met families who had lost loved ones after inadvertently triggering a landmine, and those that had survived such explosions only to be left both physically and psychologically damaged for life.
Despite the 20 years that had elapsed since the war in Cambodia he also saw how it was still impacting people’s everyday lives and adding to their burden as they struggled against exclusion and poverty. On returning to the UK, Sir Bobby was determined to do something practical to help the people he had met in Cambodia and thousands more like them around the world. He shared his experiences with friends and family, and with their support The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation was established.