Former Pompey star backs Portsmouth’s No Smoking Day event

QUIT SMOKING Pompey Hall of Fame star Alan Knight with 325 pairs of shoes which represent those people who are lost to smoking-related illness in Portsmouth each year.  Picture: Steve Reid (120910-038)
QUIT SMOKING Pompey Hall of Fame star Alan Knight with 325 pairs of shoes which represent those people who are lost to smoking-related illness in Portsmouth each year. Picture: Steve Reid (120910-038)

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POMPEY legend Alan Knight hasn’t looked back since he gave up his 20-a-day smoking habit.

Now the former goalkeeper has teamed up with health officials and urged others to stub out cigarettes for good.

As part of No Smoking Day the team descended upon Portsmouth’s Guildhall Square and laid out 325 pairs of shoes, which represent the number of people in Portsmouth who have died from smoking each year since 2009.

Alan, 50, who gave up the habit at the end of November, said: ‘For 30 years I smoked 20 a day and thought nothing of it.

‘On a few occasions I thought about giving up but I never really gave it a proper go.

‘Now that I have I can see the benefits.

‘I feel so much healthier. I’ve got my taste back and I don’t wheeze any more.

‘Plus I’ve got more money in my pocket now.

‘No Smoking Day is such an important event.

‘I want others to realise how much you can change your life by giving up.

‘There’s a fantastic range of patches and gums on the market now and those things helped me out.’

As part of yesterday’s all-day event, pupils from The City of Portsmouth Girls’ School handed out anti-smoking leaflets in Guildhall Square.

Some of the pupils dressed up as a heart and a cigarette.

Andy Ames, a health development worker at the council who helped organise the event, said: ‘We wanted to do something a bit different to mark No Smoking Day.

‘It’s something visual and it gets people talking.

‘Having 325 pairs of them laid out makes you think even more about the people who have died from smoking.’

The shoes were donated by workers from Portsmouth City Council, NHS Portsmouth and The British Heart Foundation.

The stash of footwear will now be sold at the British Heart Foundation charity store, in Arundel Street, Landport.

Preston Davis, area manager for the charity, said: ‘We hope they will raise £1,200 for our cause.’