On Saturday 17 April, disabled Arsenal supporter Paul Smith completed a staggering 51 laps (32.6km) around the exterior of Emirates Stadium in a very commendable three hours and one minute, raising over £10,000 through sponsorship for Arsenal’s Charity of the Season, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.
51 year old Portsmouth resident Paul suffers with a brain injury, crush injuries to his hips and chest, as well as damage to his neck and shoulder following a road traffic accident back in 1991. He considered himself fortunate to have the opportunity to take part in this challenge on Saturday and he completed the distance in his wheelchair.
Speaking after the 51 laps were completed, Paul said: “The most painful thing about this experience has been seeing and hearing children suffering and doing nothing about it, but by raising over £10,000 today, people have done something to help relieve the suffering and they should be very proud of themselves.”
Paul’s wife Jane said: “Paul averaged three minutes 55 seconds per lap and never seemed to slow, in fact, it seemed as though he just got faster and faster with 15 laps to go. I want to thank all those who came down to support Paul today, and also those who have supported us since the beginning of Paul’s training, especially RGK Wheelchairs who supplied Paul with a lightweight wheelchair for his challenge.”
Joanna Wallis from the Corporate Partnerships team at Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity said: "We are so grateful to Paul for supporting our partnership with Arsenal FC and congratulate him on this amazing feat! Our thanks must also go to Arsenal Hampshire for their support of Paul and his fundraiser and to RGK for their kind donation of a wheelchair for the event. The fantastic amount of money Paul has raised will take us that much closer to our £500,000 target from the partnership with Arsenal and will also make such a difference to the very ill children and their families at the Hospital.”
If you’ve been inspired by Paul’s story you can sponsor him and contribute to his fundraising for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity by visiting www.justgiving.com/paulforgosh
Paul’s event comes just over one month after the official ‘Be a Gunner. Be a Runner.’ event took place around Emirates Stadium which saw 300 runners from all over the UK complete ten laps around the Gunners’ home, which raised over £40,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 20 Apr 2010