Disabled Portsmouth veteran conquers the channel in £7,000 effort for friend who died of breast cancer

A DISABLED Royal Navy veteran completed a mammoth charity challenge in memory of his friend – two years after she died of breast cancer.

Thursday, 30th May 2019, 1:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th May 2019, 1:56 pm

With a picture of his late pal Marjorie Anne Walker in front of him, wheelchair-bound Paul Smith, from Portsmouth, picked up oars for the first time to row the English Channel on Saturday, in aid of Breast Cancer Haven. 

The good cause, which has a base in Titchfield, supported Marjorie before her death. 

Mr Smith was left with life-changing chest, spine, hip and shoulder injuries after a car accident in 1991 and suffers constant pain and migraines. 

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Although these were further aggravated in 2014, when he was hurt in a deliberate hit and run, he fought through the pain barrier to complete the 25-mile effort in five hours and 47 minutes. 

Because of bad weather the route was however altered – finishing at Folkestone rather than Dover. 

‘Three miles from home things took a turn for the worst – the wind was going against the tide and every

stroke was agony and my pain threshold had reached its limit,’ Paul said. 

‘I was coached through every stroke and with a picture of Marjorie in front of me, we made it to the finish line.

‘Despite the extreme pain, I was determined to do it for her. I finished it for Marjorie.’

Having raised more than £7,400 with the row, Paul’s effort will help fund free, one-to-one, emotional support and supportive therapies for people affected by breast cancer – something Marjorie was passionate about. 

Sally Hillyear, fundraising manager at Breast Cancer Haven, Wessex, added: ‘We are in awe of Paul’s strength and determination.

‘His motivation to help people who have received a breast cancer diagnosis is so inspiring.

‘We are very grateful for his support and Marjorie would have been so proud of what he has achieved on her behalf.’

To donate to Paul’s cause, go to justgiving.com/fundraising/challengethechannel