Portsmouth disabled fundraiser awarded OBE for dedication to charities
HE'S raised more than Â£2m for charity in the face of adversity.
Now tireless fundraiser Paul Smith has been recognised by the Queen for devoting his life to supporting some of society’s most vulnerable people.
The 57-year-old Cosham resident, left disabled after a crash in 1991, received his OBE at Windsor Castle for his sterling services to charity.
As reported, it was awarded in the New Year Honours list this year.
Mr Smith has raised about £2.3m for numerous causes through gruelling wheelchair pushes and climbs.
His challenges have included pushing himself from Plymouth to London via Portsmouth and Portland in Dorset to the capital.
And despite being struck by a car during preparations for charity wheelchair climb of the Rock of Gibraltar, he finished the epic feat.
Speaking to The News about his award, Mr Smith said: ‘It was a complete surprise, because I have never done my fundraising for this kind of reward, or any kind of reward really.
‘It’s a great honour. I am very humbled that a member of the public thought I was deserved this honour. I’m very proud.’
And he was overwhelmed to be recognised by Her Majesty. Mr Smith said: ‘It was an amazing day – it was out of this world.
‘Her Majesty was so generous and very interested in me as a person and the things I have done.’
Mr Smith’s fundraising has benefit organisations including; Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, Save the Children and homeless service Centrepoint.
And he’s not giving up on his mission to continue giving vulnerable young people another shot at life.
Mr Smith said: ‘This is about the fact there are children and people in this world suffering, and children in particular deserve a chance.
‘I was given a chance, I was adopted at three months old, I survived my accident which I was surprised about, but I have.
‘I have been given two chances and I believe children and other teenagers deserve a chance in life.’
He added: ‘My fundraising will continue, but in a different direction.
‘At the moment, I can’t do physical challenges, because back in December 2014 I was involved in a hit and run.
‘That has caused a lot more damage than was first thought.
‘So I have to think of different ways.’