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England debut for another Charlton

Tom Charlton pictured at home in Rotherham. Picture by Chris Etchells.
Tom Charlton pictured at home in Rotherham. Picture by Chris Etchells.

A third Charlton brother has now played for England in an international football fixture.

After they all grew up in Ashington, Bobby and Jack were both part of England’s 1966 World Cup winning team.

And earlier this month, Tom made his debut for the national over-60s walking football team.

Italy were the opponents at the game in Brighton’s Amex Stadium, organised by the Walking Football Association (WFA), and Tom played his part in a 3-0 win. He was selected as a striker following a trial that involved playing a few games in different positions.

Walking football is aimed at over-50s, with very specific rules in place such as no running and no contact. Tom, who lives in Rotherham, joined his local team – the Mature Millers – five years ago after seeing an article about it in a local newspaper.

The 72-year-old has now been given the role of ambassador for the WFA.

“Walking football has definitely been a revelation for me – it has improved my health immensely and my mental health has never been better,” he said.

“It was a great honour to play for the England over-60s team. I loved every second of it and although I didn’t score, I was proud to be part of a good team performance.

“Others can get the same amount of pleasure from walking football as me, all they have to do is give it a try.

“I keep in touch with my brothers and at a gala dinner the night before the Italy game, the team manager read out a lovely message from Bobby and Jack, which I knew nothing about beforehand.”

Tom played football a few times a week when he was part of the Mines Rescue Station team in Ashington, although he was on the sidelines for a while when he broke his kneecap playing in a friendly game in Widdrington at the age of 23.

He and wife Carol moved to Scotland for his work in 1980, then their current home four years later.

“I’ve always been proud of my roots and I tell people down here that,” he added.

For more details about walking football activities in Northumberland, call Active Northumberland on 01670 620200 or email SAppleby@activenorthumberland.org.uk