101-miles? It’s no problem for Arsenal fan Paul

MARATHON EFFORT Charity fundraiser Paul Smith with supporter Linvoy Primus
MARATHON EFFORT Charity fundraiser Paul Smith with supporter Linvoy Primus
Picture: Hampshire County Council

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DISABLED Arsenal fan Paul Smith will push himself to the limit by travelling more than 100 miles in his wheelchair.

The dedicated fundraiser will undertake a three-day journey from Fratton Park in Portsmouth to the Emirates Stadium in north London.

He hopes to raise £25,000 for youth homelessness charity Centrepoint, Arsenal’s chosen good cause this season, with his 101-mile mission.

In the past Paul has completed 51 laps of the Emirates Stadium in his wheelchair – totalling more than 20 miles – but said this will be his toughest challenge ever.

‘I’m currently putting myself through a rigorous training programme to prepare,’ said the 52-year-old former sailor.

‘Arsenal’s charity of the season is something which I have been supporting for three years now through various sponsored events, but this is by far the most ambitious.

‘I have a fantastic crew to help me and I have been heartened by the support from friends, families, sponsors and celebrities.

‘I really hope to make our target of £25,000 to help Centrepoint’s vital work supporting homeless young people.’

Paul, of Magdala Road, Cosham, suffers with 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.

He has been supporting Arsenal’s campaigns for the last three years and has so far raised almost £25,000 for various charities.

Former Pompey fan-favourite Linvoy Primus – who founded local charity Faith & Football – has been helping Paul fundraise, and said he has confidence his challenge will be a success.

‘Paul has amazing self-belief and commitment,’ he said. ‘It will be tough but I know he can do it, because he has already achieved so much.’

Seyi Obakin, Centrepoint’s CEO said: ‘We are so grateful to Paul and his dedicated crew for supporting our work and our partnership with Arsenal, and I congratulate him on his ambition to achieve this incredible challenge.

‘The fantastic amount of money Paul will raise will take us closer to our £500,000 target which will help homeless young people to have a bright future.’

Paul will leave Fratton Park and begin his journey to London on Wednesday April 13. To sponsor him visit justgiving.com/centrepoint-100.