On Wednesday, April 13, disabled Arsenal supporter Paul Smith will set off in his wheelchair from the home of Portsmouth Football Club, Fratton Park to reach the home of his beloved Arsenal three days later on Saturday, April 16.  The sponsored 101-mile challenge is to support the Gunners’ Charity of the Season, Centrepoint, as he hopes to raise £25,000 for the national charity which helps homeless young people.  

This is Paul’s third and most ambitious challenge to date which supports Arsenal’s Charity of the Season and its annual ‘Be a Gooner.  Be a Giver.’ campaign. For the 2010/11 football season, Arsenal Football Club is supporting Centrepoint and has a target of £500,000 which will help refurbish a facility in Soho where young homeless people can learn essential life skills which will help them to stay off the streets permanently.

52 year-old Portsmouth resident Paul suffers with brain injury, crush injuries to his hips and chest, as well as long-term damage to his neck and shoulder following a road traffic accident back in 1991.  The Arsenal supporter is determined to complete this challenge with a dedicated crew who will help him through the grueling test.  This is the third sponsored challenge Arsenal fan Paul has undertaken; last year he completed 51 laps around Emirates Stadium in his wheelchair as part of the Club’s annual ‘Be a Gunner.  Be a Runner.’ event.

Speaking ahead of the challenge Paul said: “I’m currently putting myself through a rigorous training programme to prepare for this challenge.  Arsenal’s Charity of the Season is something which I have been supporting for three years now through various sponsored events, but this is by far the most ambitious!  I have a fantastic crew to help me and I have been heartened by the support from friends, families, sponsors and celebrities. I really hope to make our target of £25,000 to help Centrepoint’s vital work supporting homeless young people.”

Seyi Obakin, Centrepoint’s CEO said: "We are so grateful to Paul and his dedicated crew for supporting our work and our partnership with Arsenal and congratulate him on his ambition to achieve this incredible challenge.  The fantastic amount of money Paul will raise will take us closer to our £500,000 target which will help homeless young people to have a bright future.”

If you’ve been inspired by Paul’s story you can sponsor him and contribute to his fundraising by visiting www.justgiving.com/centrepoint-100.

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1 Mar 2011