A DISABLED Royal Navy veteran who overcame a devastating car crash, which left him crippled, and raised £2.3m for charity is in line for a top award.
Wheelchair-bound Paul Smith, from Cosham, has made the shortlist of the JustGiving Awards for his incredible feats of endurance, which have seen him row across the Channel and wheel himself from Plymouth to London.
He was whittled down from more than 50,000 nominations to make the final three in the Outstanding Commitment category of the nationwide contest.
Speaking about his nomination, Paul said: ‘I feel extremely privileged to have been chosen as one of the top three finalists, alongside two other very worthy finalists, from 50,000 nominees.
‘It is an honour to fundraise for those who have life-threatening conditions and who fight battles that the majority of us wouldn’t be able too.’
Paul fundraising journey began after he was horrifically injured during a car crash in 1991, aged 32.
He had been driving when someone overtook on a blind bend and slammed into his car head-on, leaving him with catastrophic brain, spinal, chest and neck injuries.
Tragedy struck soon again shortly after the accident when Paul was diagnosed with locked-in syndrome, an illness which left him paralysed for 12 years.
After recovering and regaining some mobility, brave Paul set about raising funds for children and teenage charities for the next 14 years.
His exploits saw him pushing himself in his wheelchair up the Rock of Gibraltar and from Plymouth to London.
In 2016 he was awarded an OBE by the Queen for his tireless fundraising.
This year Paul tackled his biggest physical challenge to date – rowing the English Channel.
He took on the row in May in memory of his friend and Portsmouth breast cancer campaigner Marjorie Anne Walker who had died following a second bout of the illness
Paul said: ‘Marjorie Anne died of breast cancer but while fighting her own battle she continued to help and support others which inspired me to take on just one more fundraiser for Breast Cancer Haven.
‘Against all the odds I managed to row the channel in rough weather in five hours and 47 minutes.’
To vote for Paul to win see: https://pages.contact.justgiving.com/JustGivingVoting2019/
Voting closes at midnight on Sunday, September 15.