The ultimate gift for young Charlie
The Today Show team meets their biggest fan
“Charlie, he’s such a lovely young man and he’s such a special person,” - Richard Wilkins
CHARLIE Bell’s ultimate wish was to meet the hosts of the Today Show and yesterday in Airlie Beach, his wish came true – just in time for his 20th birthday.
Born with a rare syndrome, Megalencephaly Cutis Marmorata Telangiectatica Congenita ( MCMTC), Charlie’s condition has impacted his physical and mental health, preventing him from participating in many life experiences.
But the Today Show has always been a ‘constant’ in his life.
Charlie’s mum Sharyn Bell said he adored the popular Australian morning program.
“He has always had a bit of an obsession with news programs and the weather and he tends to identify with the newsreaders and the hosts of shows and considers them to be his friends,” she said.
“He particularly loves the Today Show and watches it religiously every morning and will tape it on his iPad and iPhone then watch it again in the afternoon.”
When Charlie’s younger sister Maggie found out the Today Show was coming to Airlie Beach, she reached out on Facebook in the hope her brother would get to meet his idols.
In Maggie’s post, which has now been shared 418 times, she spoke of how each morning Charlie would wake up with Today and she personally thanked the team.
“Thank you for teaching him (Charlie) to answer his phone by saying ‘I wake up with Today’ and thank you for filling his mind with popular topics that serve as fantastic dinner time conversations,” she wrote.
“Thank you for bringing him such genuine joy and happiness and thank you for giving him something to looking forward to every single morning.”
Broadcasting live from the Airlie Beach foreshore yesterday morning as part of the We Love Australia tour, the Today team had a brief chat with their biggest fan.
Charlie said he was nervous but incredibly excited to meet them.
“It’s so good to talk to them and get photos,” he said.
“Karl is so silly, and Tim, they’re my favourites.”
Presenter Richard Wilkins said he was happy to have the chance to meet one of his biggest fans.
“Charlie, he’s such a lovely young man and he’s such a special person,” he said.
“We continue to be humbled by the people who come across our tracks here.”
Described as a “happy and sociable boy”, Charlie and his family are well known members of the local community.
Ms Bell said she and her husband, Stuart had often considered moving to the city where they could access services but changed their minds.
“We felt being known in the community and being surrounded by friends and family has just highlighted our decision to stay,” she said.
And Ms Bell said they were also incredibly proud of Maggie for helping Charlie’s dream come true.
“We got just as many comments from the community about what a wonderful sister Maggie is as we did about how wonderful it would be for Charlie to meet them,” she said. “They’ve always been incredibly close.”
. “It’s so heart-warming and I’m grateful to be part of such a great community.”
MUSICAL: Event organiser Gavin 'Butto' Butler with almost 40 representatives of the Airlie Beach Festival of Music. Butto said they were stoked when Lisa Wilkinson spoke about the festival on air. Photo: Andrew Pattinson / Vampp Photography.
TALENTED: Adrian Connor, the man behind the Airlie Beach sand sculptures, created this masterpiece especially for the Today Show team to welcome them to the region. Mr Connor said it took him three days to complete.
EARLY BIRDS: It was an early start for locals who wanted to catch the Today Show begin their live broadcast in Airlie Beach.
COMPETITION TIME: Presenters, Sylvia Jeffreys, Tim Gilbert, Karl Stefanovic, Lisa Wilkinson and Richard Wilkins with Kev Collins, from Fish D'vine, who demonstrated how to peel a mud crab, one of the region’s most popular seafoods, before participating in a mud crab peeling competition.
FAREWELL: The Today Show hosts finished the show with a bang as they left Airlie Beach on jet skis. The crowd gathered on the edge of the shore and cheered as they left making their mark on the Whitsunday region. The team said they absolutely loved visiting Airlie.
ARTISTIC: Glenn Taiapa holding his piece of Pyrographic Woodwork which he created especially for the Today Show team. The piece will be put up for auction and proceeds will go towards the Morcombe . Glenn is hoping it will be displayed in the green room at the Today Show studios.