Cosham fundraising veteran overcomes disability yet again with charity skydive

A fundraiser took a '˜leap of faith' in his 10th charity challenge in a decade.

Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:55 am
Paul Smith during his skydive. Picture: UK Parachuting

Wheelchair-user Paul Smith capped off his list of achievements with a charity freefall skydive.

Having already raised £3,500 with the skydive, the 57-year-old is currently working hard to collect as much as £9,000, which will be split between three children’s charities.

Paul, from Cosham, was left disabled after a car crash in 1991, but has not let his disability beat him and has completed 10 gruelling challenges over 10 years.

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Travelling to Beccles, Suffolk for the dive, Paul was cheered on by friends on the ground.

He said: ‘It was amazing, I thought it was just like floating on a cushion of air.

‘There were no nerves going up there, I was just looking forward to it.’

Earlier this year, Paul received an OBE for his outstanding contributions to charity, having raised around £2.3m for a number of causes.

Paul’s previous efforts for charity have required immense physical endurance, and he has already racked up over 70,000 miles in his wheelchair.

But the skydive was the first time without his wheelchair.

He said: ‘It allowed me to do something I never thought I would be able to do. The parachuting team knew what they were doing so I was safe as houses.

‘The first 50 seconds, when you’re falling without a parachute, is indescribable.’

Paul’s latest challenge is in aid of the Oakley Waterman Caravan Foundation, which funds holidays for terminally ill children and their families, as well as City of Portsmouth Athletic Club and Save The Children.

Paul, who was adopted, said: ‘I have been given two chances at life, and I believe these children deserve a chance in life too.’