HE’S battled back from life-changing injuries that left him in a wheelchair.
Now Cosham’s Paul Smith has completed his most heroic challenge yet by self-propelling himself more than 200 miles from Portland in Dorset to Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in London.
He braved torrential rain, hailstones, huge hills and snapped brake cables to complete his challenge in aid of Save the Children.
Mr Smith set off from Dorset, where he was based as a leading seaman specialist in the navy, and pushed himself to the finishing line at the home of his beloved Arsenal in 38 hours over five days.
He was joined by a road crew and his wife Jane throughout the week.
Mr Smith, of Magdala Road, told The News: ‘It was very wet but a good challenge.
‘We just got on with it. I had a brake cable snap going down a hill in Fareham.
‘We had to take emergency action to avoid an accident but we were OK.
‘The long climb out of Portland was an experience. It was difficult but you get to the point when you can look back and see what you have conquered.
‘We were confident that we would make it all the way, despite the bad weather. At one point water was coming up above my feet around the Guildford area. To go through water that deep is an experience to say the least.’
Mr Smith was severely disabled in a road accident in 1991 and has been fundraising ever since, generating more than £1.5m for charity.
This year his efforts have raised £13,344 so far – short of his target of £50,000 for Save the Children. But if he raises £20,000, an anonymous donor will match that amount to boost his efforts.
He already has his sights set on his next challenge – pushing his wheelchair more than 300 miles from Plymouth to London next April.
Mr Smith added: ‘I have to thank my crew. They were absolutely fantastic.
‘The went about their jobs with professionalism.
‘They knew what to do and when to do it.
‘I’d like to appeal to the residents of Portsmouth that if they could help us reach £20,000, it would be worthwhile doing 200 miles in a wheelchair for Save the Children.’
Last year., Mr Smith pushed himself from Fratton Park to the Emirates Stadium over three days.
You can still donate online at justgiving.com/ challenge200.