Charlie Williams: Dancing Disco Cosmonaut


In April 2021 we were humbled to discover that Drake Music had been chosen as the beneficiary of funds donated in memory of a young man named Charlie Williams, who had tragically died whilst travelling in Australia.

Over the past few months, we have got to know more about this amazing person and to understand what a positive impact he had on so many people’s lives. We have been so touched to read the hundreds of comments on the JustGiving page set up in Charlie’s memory. We have spoken with his friends and family and it has been a privilege to find out more about Charlie – the man described as “the real party starter, kitchen disco selector, dancing disco cosmonaut.” A man who truly lit up every room he entered.

Charlie is DJ-ing, a young white man in a baseball cap, with headphones round his neck and a look of concentration

24 year-old Charlie was a talented musician and DJ (not to mention a gifted rugby player!) – his sister Eleanor told us that he was one of those brilliant (and slightly annoying!) people who could just pick up any instrument and make music from it.

He went on to co-found Surco Events, a company bringing exciting music events to basements, clubs and rooftops across Manchester. Charlie had a passion for life, an open and generous spirit and a positive energy. He was constantly listening to new music and sharing recommendations and playlists with his friends.

Charlie was in Australia with his best friend George, who set up the Just Giving page to raise money for Drake Music.

George explains: “Me and Charlie spoke and dreamed about what we would do if we won the lottery and what charities we would like to donate to. Charlie being Charlie said that he would love to give something back to a charity that specialised in supporting and aiding Disabled people to gain better access to music.”

We are so grateful to absolutely everyone who has given money to Drake Music in Charlie’s name – it will make such a difference. Funds raised for Drake Music in Charlie’s memory have now exceeded £46,000, thanks in part to a significant donation from the David Family Foundation. This incredible amount of money will help Drake Music to continue to provide opportunities for Disabled people to experience the joy of music-making.

In particular, the funds raised in Charlie’s name will support the work we do in creating and promoting accessible instruments and music technology to “level the playing field” for Disabled musicians who are unable to play “conventional” instruments.

It will help us to work with partners to deliver inclusive music events and club nights, and it will enable us to provide more accessible music-making opportunities for Disabled young people across the country.

This will include young people who attend a specialist school where Charlie’s younger sister, Carys, was a student. Earlier in July we were delighted to welcome two groups from the school to Planted Symphony, our accessible interactive audio trail, and we look forward to working more with them in the future.

a group of students from a specialist school pose together for a photo in the park at planted symphony

Two young disabled men smile and pose in a small willow hut, one with his head popping out through a hole.

A group of young disabled students listening to music in the park at planted symphony

Moving forward it is also our aim to use some of the funds raised in Charlie’s memory to provide specific opportunities for Disabled DJs/Producers – plans for a “Charlie Williams Bursary” are in development. Watch this space.

The impact of this amazing young man will continue to be felt at Drake Music for many years to come.

Carien Meijer, Chief Executive of Drake Music, said: “Everyone at Drake Music sends their most sincere condolences to Charlie’s family and friends. It is clear to see what a very special person he was. We are so touched that Drake Music was chosen as the charity for the fundraising done in Charlie’s memory – thank you so much to everyone that has donated.

The funds raised will help us to continue to provide opportunities for Disabled musicians of all ages. We want equal opportunities for everyone to make music. Amazing people like Charlie Williams will help us to achieve that aim.”

To find out more, or support the fundraiser set up in Charlie’s memory, go to the Just Giving website.

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