Charlton supporters really are amazing people. Yesterday morning (Thursday) we launched a campaign to raise £5200 so that we could commission a mosaic at The Valley to commemorate legendary CAFC fan Seb Lewis. Within twelve hours the target had been reached. A total of £5494 had been pledged through 274 individual contributions. This is such eloquent testimony both to the level of esteem in which Seb was held by Charlton supporters and to the amazing generosity of our fans.
For anyone coming to this story late here is the background:
Between 1998 and 2020 Seb attended 1076 consecutive Charlton games - home and away and abroad. He became a well-known and much-loved figure with his famous flag and, on the occasion of his 1000th consecutive game in 2018, he was awarded "Pride of The Valley" status in front of an admiring crowd at The Valley. In March 2020, however, he became a tragic early victim of Covid-19.
Charlton supporter Brogue Stevens started a fundraising drive for a lasting memorial to Seb. The original aspiration was to commission a statue but Brogue wisely caveated the wording of the appeal to ensure that, if sufficient funds weren't raised, donations would be used "to remember Seb one way or another".
A large number of supporters were inspired by Brogue's initiative and over £10,500 was soon raised.
CAST were conscious of the approaching anniversary of Seb's death so we approached Brogue last month to find out whether we could be of any assistance in bringing the project to fruition. We agreed with Brogue that it was important that it remained a fan-led initiative.
The outcome of this was that we began to make enquiries about the cost and the practicalities of commissioning a statue. It soon became apparent that, leaving the many practicalities aside, the cost itself was going to be prohibitive.
We have therefore looked at alternatives which would provide a fitting memorial which does justice to Seb. Working with Brogue, club staff and chaplain Matt Baker and in consultation with Seb's family we have decided on a mosaic which will be sited on the blank exit gate wall (below) opposite Don Welsh holding the FA Cup. The memorial will thus be clearly visible to everyone visiting The Valley. Thomas Sandgaard has given his approval for the site and his support for the mosaic.
The brief for the mosaic is as follows:
Design, build and install a life-sized or larger celebratory memorial to Seb Lewis. It is to be an enduring piece of art to be loved and admired for generations to come.
When supporters see the mosaic, we would like them to:
Think: Look, there’s Seb
Feel: Fondly towards Seb. Even if they didn’t know him personally he’s someone they would like to think of as a friend. And, if they are from future generations who don’t know Seb, pleased that they and those around them are Charlton fans. It’s more than just a football club - it’s a community
Do: Take pictures of it, pose with it. Show other people
We have commissioned a mosaic artist who has already demonstrated his feel for and understanding of the brief by submitting some imaginative design ideas. In addition, he has undertaken to bring the unfinished mosaic to the stadium for a workshop so that friends and family can actually contribute to its creation.
Now that the funds have been raised we can proceed to the next stage of agreeing final designs and working on the practicalities and timescales.
A big thank you to all the 263 people who pledged funds yesterday.
We hope that all Charlton supporters will see the mosaic as being an enduring and inspiring memorial to Seb.