Paul’s incredible journey earns a special award

114202-29 WCDI AWARDS 2011 (PM & SB) MRW 228/11/2011  // all pix taken at The News WCDI Awards 2011 held at The New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth //   Category: Personal Achievement Award:  Winner: Paul Smith  (left to right) Paul Smith with Ken Sim, director of newspaper sales and promotions at The News  Picture: Malcolm Wells (114202-29)
114202-29 WCDI AWARDS 2011 (PM & SB) MRW 228/11/2011 // all pix taken at The News WCDI Awards 2011 held at The New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth // Category: Personal Achievement Award: Winner: Paul Smith (left to right) Paul Smith with Ken Sim, director of newspaper sales and promotions at The News Picture: Malcolm Wells (114202-29)

From broken bones to new beginnings

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IT WAS a test of endurance that earned Paul Smith the Personal Achievement award.

Disabled Arsenal fan Paul pushed himself to the limit by travelling more than 100 miles in his wheelchair for charity.

And the dedicated fundraiser was recognised for this feat by taking home a trophy at Monday night’s We Can Do It Awards.

It was a double celebration for Paul, of Magdala Road, Cosham, as it was also his 53th birthday.

He said: ‘I was overwhelmed and surprised.

‘There were so many others nominated that would be worthy winners.’

Paul undertook a three-day journey from Fratton Park in Portsmouth to the Emirates Stadium in north London back in April.

His efforts raised £25,000 for homelessness charity Centrepoint.

Paul suffered injuries to his brain, hips and chest, as well as long-term damage to his neck and shoulder, following a road traffic accident back in 1991.

But he has not let his disability stop him from doing what he loves best – fundraising.

‘I do fundraising because there’s always someone in the world that is not as privileged as others,’ added Paul.

‘There’s always someone who needs help.

‘I always did charity work when I was able-bodied, so I’m just carrying that on.’

Paul is now planning to take part in another challenge – this time pushing himself a total of 200 miles.

He will be going from Portland in Dorset all the way to the Emirates stadium.

This time he is aiming to raise money for Save the Children. To support Paul, go to justgiving.com/challenge200.

This is the first year for the Personal Achievement category and five other people were shortlisted.

Stephen Hull, 53, of Fareham, champions the rights of disabled people.

Jake Barber, six, from Southsea, helped to save his mother’s life when she collapsed by putting her into the recovery position.

Richard Palmer, 48, of Wymering, refused to sit back and watch the former Wymering Arms pub be demolished and started a campaign to save it.

Sam Payne, 10, who was born with club feet, took part in a charity bike ride for Steps.

And Philip Jones has been taking part in the Relay for Life for the past 15 years in memory of his daughter Samantha, who died from cancer aged 23.