A BOY from Arborfield who won the hearts of the nation after launching the #CheerUpCharlie initiative is taking his anti-bullying campaign to the next level.
Charlie Kristensen is joining forces with the West End to release a charity fundraising single for National Anti-Bullying Week.
The 10-year-old launched the #CheerUpCharlie campaign last year with the help of his teacher after being bullied for his love of musical theatre.
And now he’s working with a number of stars to release the single You Will Be Found, which is all about finding the courage to be yourself.
And it is in aid of The Diana Award, to raise awareness of the charity’s anti-bullying work.
Those joining Charlie on the single include Wendi Peters from Coronation Street and Matthew Croke from Aladdin, and casts from a variety of West End shows including Wicked, Hamilton, and Annie are set to feature in the music video, offering messages of support to those experiencing bullying.
“The stars are like my family,” Charlie said. “The theatre is my tribe. It’s where I belong.”
The single will be released on Sunday, November 15 to kickstart National Anti-Bullying Week which runs from Monday, November 16 until Friday, November 20.
The single is being produced by Auburn Jam Music, who approached Charlie after hearing about his story online.
Last year, Charlie’s teacher reached out on Twitter for messages of support for the youngster and was inundated with responses – he received support from hundreds of performers from the West End, Broadway and even Hollywood.
“I was bullied really badly at school for doing something I love,” Charlie explained.
“I was called names and hurt just because I’m a boy and I like to dance. I didn’t fit the stereotype the bullies wanted me to.
“I was very close to giving up on my dream but when I received the messages from the West End Stars, I realised that I was much more important than the bullies’ opinions of me.”
Since then, Charlie has launched the #CheerUpCharlie campaign and has trained as an Ambassador for The Diana Award, which runs the UK’s leading anti-bullying programme.
And he has also set up his very own online chat show to open up the conversation around bullying.
“In each video I interview a different actor, musician or artist about their lives, performing background and experiences of bullying,” he said.
“The aim of the share is to share unknown, unheard and unlistened to stories.”
You Will Be Found is available to pre-order now, and all proceeds from the song will go to The Diana Fund.
Charlie has also set up an additional fundraiser and hopes to raise £5,000 for the charity.
For more information, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cheerupcharlie