Dagenham charity set up in memory of 'unique' man offers help to youngsters

Charles Ronayne

Charles Ronayne, pictured here in 2014, worked with special needs children as part of Barking and Dagenham Council's special needs service. - Credit: Blind Cricket England and Wales

A charity set up in memory of a visually impaired man who helped children with special needs is offering awards to schools.

The Charles Ronayne Foundation is keen for primaries, secondaries and colleges to nominate young people whose education could benefit from its help.

Sally Ronayne, who named the charity after her son, said: "We are asking schools if they know anyone who they think we might be able to help, to get in touch."

The charity wants to provide things which would support young people's education.

Oscar Birch, a pupil at Trinity School, Dagenham who was born with a visual impairment and learning difficulties, was awarded a mini trampoline by the foundation in March last year.

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Established in 2019, the charity continues the legacy of Charles Ronayne, 33, from Dagenham, who died suddenly in August 2017.

A keen sportsman, Charles played cricket for London Sports, Northants Steelbacks, Essex Tigers and London Metro.

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He also made guest appearances for Yorkshire Visually Impaired Cricket Club and Metro Devils and played for the Blind Cricket England and Wales All Stars team at the first Twenty20 finals day.

The Leyton Orient FC fan climbed Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, in 1999 on a trip organised by children's TV programme Blue Peter and led by then presenter Simon Thomas.

Charles attended All Saints Catholic School before going on to New College Worcester and then studied history and English at university in Liverpool.

He got a job working with youngsters through Barking and Dagenham Council's special needs service where he remained for almost 10 years.

Sally said: "He was quite unique. Charles grew up and was supported by the borough. [The foundation] is about carrying on his memory.

"He was passionate about disabled issues. We just want to carry on his work."

To be eligible for help from the foundation, youngsters must be in full time education, be 21 or under, live or attend school in Barking and Dagenham and be able to show they are achieving well academically.

For more information and to submit an application for an award, email CRFtrustees@mail.com

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