Call out to back local fundraising hero at national awards

Portsmouth’s leading charity fundraiser, Paul Smith OBE, has been hailed one of the UK’s physical activity heroes in UK Active’s annual awards.

And city votes are needed now to back him all the way.

How we can support Paul

Get behind Paul to win The Physical Activity Hero Award at the @ukactive Awards.

Find out more and vote for this amazing individual at https://www.ukactive.com/ukactive-awards-2022-stage-2-public-vote/.

Paul’s story

In 1991, Paul was in a Road Traffic Accident and sustained extensive injuries to his brain; spine; shoulders, neck, plus hips and knee. He became seriously unwell for 12 years. He went into Lock-in Syndrome, was afraid of strangers and not knowing his friends and family.

Paul lives with a migraine pressure on his brain and is in constant pain. Diagnosed with PTSD and depression he also had to re-learn basic daily tasks like dressing and washing.

Paul emerged from being seriously unwell to using his experiences to fundraise for children and teenagers with life threatening illnesses and those who have experienced traumatic events.

Since 2003 Paul has completed more than 22 physical activity challenges and raised over £2.3 million for charities including Great Ormond St, Teenager Cancer Trust, Centrepoint, Kiya Survivors, Oakley Water Caravan Foundation and Save the Children.

Paul has pushed himself in his wheelchair, from various Naval bases around the UK to London and up the Rock of Gibraltar; abseiled down the Spinnaker Tower and thrown himself out of a perfectly serviceable plane to complete a tandem parachute jump.

He has rowed solo across the channel in aid of Breast Cancer Haven and recently raised thousands of pounds for Brain Tumour Research, by crawling on his hands and knees to reach the summit of Mount Snowdon. Paul was proud to be nominated and mentioned in the 2016 New Year Honours and in April 2016 Her Majesty The Queen bestowed Paul with an OBE.

Despite Paul’s injuries over 30 years ago, he has overcome his difficulties and become an ambassador for Sport in the city. Paul is a qualified a UK Athletics Event Group Coach and is regularly seen at Portsmouth’s Mountbatten Leisure Centre either delivering track sessions or indoor sport specific training.

He is well-known to a large number of users of the Mountbatten Centre and is inspirational to many. Paul trains athletes daily, and spends his spare time talking to people in the centre. Paul is also an Ambassador of Toucan Diversity (CIC).

BH Live, the charitable trust which operates Mountbatten in partnership with the council, nominated Paul for this award. In tribute to his fundraising and dedication to physical activity Rob Cunningham, BH Live’s head of leisure said,

“Paul is an inspiration and ambassador for harnessing the power of physical activity – showcasing that as well as helping his own physical and mental health, being active and taking on challenges to fundraise, can help so many others too. We encourage as many people to get behind Paul and vote.”

Jenny Patrickson, Managing Director, Active IQ added,

“Congratulations to Paul on reaching the final judging stage of the Physical Activity Hero Award. It’s an achievement to have got this far and to be chosen as a finalist from such a strong field of entries. I wish Paul the best of luck for final stage of the awards process.”

Reminder on how to vote for Paul

Find out more and vote for this amazing individual at https://www.ukactive.com/ukactive-awards-2022-stage-2-public-vote/.

Voting closes on Friday 27 May 2022.

The awards will be held at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, on 30 June 2022.

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors:

For more information about BH Live or to arrange an interview please contact:

Elizabeth Symmons, PR, Communications and Marketing Manager E: press.office@bhlive.org.uk T: (01202) 055562

About BH Live

BH Live is a leading operator of leisure and event venues; a charitable social enterprise that designs and builds engaging experiences to inspire people and enrich lives.

For more visit bhlive.org.uk.

Get social with us: LinkedIn, Twitter @BHLIVE_UK and Facebook @SocialEnterpriseBHLive

In Portsmouth BH Live operates the following venues in partnership with Portsmouth City Council:

  • Mountbatten Leisure Centre – Portsmouth’s flagship leisure and event venue with swimming pools, a 150 station gym, eight-court sports hall, squash, spin and dance studios, a cycle velodrome, athletics track, function suites with bars, a café and soft play facility. It is also home to a Clip ‘N Climb leisure attraction which opened in 2018. For more visit bhliveactive.org.uk. Get social with us: Twitter and Facebook @mountbattenlc
  • Pyramids Centre – one of Portsmouth’s leading leisure venues overlooking Southsea beach and the Solent. It has state-of-the-art Technogym fitness equipment in a spacious gym with functional fitness, strength and cardio zones. There is a dedicated area for health assessments and people who are new to exercise, plus fitness tracking technology to help support people in reaching their activity goals. Four activity studios provide a variety of daily exercise classes including Group Cycling, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), Yoga, Pilates and the Les Mills programme. The centre is also home to Exploria, a themed play and bounce attraction which opened in 2021. A range of exciting experiences stimulate play and challenge children agreed from 6 months upwards. A bounce zone includes a diving tower with air bag, interactive games, themed slides agility parkour, battle beams and foam pits. The play zone includes ball pits, spider’s web and cargo climbing features, a rope bridge skywalk, bash bags, tunnels, rollers, beams and dodge ball shoot out. And the baby and toddler zone has all things Exploria, but downsized for little ones. There is also a range of interactive games, a dedicated sensory room, four themed party rooms and a café serving snacks, light bites and drinks. For more visit bhliveactive.org.uk and exploria.org.uk Get social with us: Twitter @PyramidsCentre / Facebook @Pyramids.Centre
  • Portsmouth Gymnastics Centre – gymnastics hall with physiotherapy and meeting room. Get social with us: Facebook @PortsmouthGymnasticsCentre
  • Portsmouth Tennis Centre – Situated in the north of Portsmouth consisting of four indoor courts and six floodlit outdoor courts. A comprehensive coaching programme caters for all ages and abilities. Sessions are available for tots, juniors, adults and also includes variations of the sport such as cardio tennis and touch tennis. Get social with us: Twitter @PortsTennis and Facebook @PortsmouthTC
  • Wimbledon Park Sports Centre – sports hall with badminton and basketball courts Get social with us: Facebook @WimbledonParkSportsCentre
  • Charter Community Sports Centre – 20m swimming pool, 20 station gym, sports hall and an outdoor multi-use games area. Get social with us: Facebook @CharterCommunitySC