Paralympics inspires double amputee to hit the road for charity
A DOUBLE amputee has been so inspired by the achievements of Britain's Paralympic athletes, he is taking on a challenge of his own.
Paul Barlow, 59, is planning to cross the 2,220m span of the Humber Bridge in his wheelchair unaided, to raise money for the residents of St Margaret's Care Home, in Grimsby.
Mr Barlow – who has lived at the home for seven years and did not wish to reveal how he came to lose he legs – said the idea had started at as joke.
He said: "We were looking at ways of raising money and I said, as a joke, how about crossing the Humber Bridge?"
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However, the idea stuck and he has already raised £600, which will be used to fund activities and days out for the other residents.
Paul has been training for six months by propelling himself along Cambridge Road and chasing the other residents around the corridors when it rains.
He also says that he owes a lot to his key carer Beryl Johnson who has worked with him since his arrival at the care home.
He said: "I couldn't have done it without her."
The popular resident was named as the home's Dignity Champion in February.
The accolade is part of a Government scheme to promote a greater emphasis on the quality of care services in hospitals, care homes and home help services.
The campaign also aims to identify and recognise those who make a real difference and often go the extra mile for staff and those in care.
He said: "It means I look out for other people, it gives me the responsibility of making sure they are happy."
All the staff at the home are amazed by Paul's commitment to the crossing.
His trainer, Roger Snowden, said: "We have been taking him out on the streets to build up his stamina for the crossing.
"He's doing really well, his times are getting quicker."
Paul hopes to cross the bridge in one hour 15 minutes, however, Roger thinks he will do better.
"He has set himself a goal time but he will do better than that, I think he will be a lot quicker."
His nurse, Helen Simmons, says Paul is very modest about what he is doing.
She said: "He has been inspired by the Paralympics because of their bravery and courage.
"He says that being in training has made him understand their hard work.
"Throughout his training Paul hasn't grumbled once – well hardly grumbled, anyway!"
Activity co-ordinator Iris Reader added that his fundraiser really would make a difference for all at the home.
She said: "Without the hard work Paul puts in, we wouldn't be able to do what we do.
"He does so much for everyone."
Give your support
Paul will be driven to the Hull side of the Humber Bridge on Wednesday, September 5, and will wheel himself back across to the south bank at 9am.
A party will be held at St Margaret's Care Home to celebrate his achievements when he arrives back from his journey later in the day.
If you wish to make a donation to the fund, call the home on 01472 241 780.