Paul Jenkins – Former Trustee of the Touch Trust 28/01/2013

You will be very saddened to hear that former Trustee, Paul Jenkins, died earlier this week. As well as being a Trustee, Paul had been a very good friend to the Touch Trust for many years and helped raise considerable funds for us. 

 

The following has been written by Dilys Price, Director of Touch Trust:

His life was a destined life

Let me explain.

Paul and I often talked about his life and how as a sportsman he had shown much courage – completing 99 marathons, taking part in the Ultimate Road race in America (5 days long I think), running up the Empire State Building and I believe even competing in 2 marathons in 2 continents on the same weekend, to name a few of his successes.

He had been courageous in his sport

He told me that he had not thought he was good at sport and had been even been bullied in school for his lack of sporting talent. UWIC students (with whom he shared a flat) encouraged him to start running and he found he had a real talent for running long distances. He did not excel in speed but in endurance races like marathons and extreme racing and in this field he came into his own and he found his passion.

So he ran AND started raising money for various charities and so found another passion! From then on he was unstoppable…..

Then, in six weeks after thinking he had flu, he went blind.

What a tragedy. That is when I met him. He had come with his mobility officer to UWIC to try to help his recovery. He was depressed, life seemed impossible, his life had been virtually taken away. But immediately the students took him to their hearts and gradually he found hope again.

One of my students, Emma Wheeler, a trampolining star, decided to become his running partner even though she had never run before. Paul had told Emma and myself that he hated running into the dark void. He found this very difficult, but again, did not give up and eventually they completed the London half marathon. Emma told me that she talked to him the whole time, both in the race and in their extensive training, because this was the only way he could continue to run into darkness! What courage from him and what dedication and love from Emma.

When we started the Touch Trust Paul came with me as a volunteer to Ely Hospital and various day centres to do our Touch Trust programme and eventually he did our training to be a session leader. He had a wonderful skill with our “guests” who had profound and multiple disabilities. It seems trite to say they loved him. He was always able to make a deep bond with them. He showed them respect, equality and warmth and they did love him as he loved them. He was a true fore runner for all the wonderful work that goes on with the many session leaders in our centre today.

We eventually became Artistic Residents in the Wales Millennium Centre (WMC) and by now he was a Trustee and had raised the very first £1000 for us by doing his 100th marathon on a treadmill and cycling machine in the Wales Sports Centre for the Disabled (which he had been a Trustee of and had been instrumental in bringing about).

He was now a regular visitor to WMC, taking sessions himself and also being a partner for Craig y Parc School, Woodland day Centre and The Bungalow (NHS) in Ely, to name a few of the places where he made a difference. Again he was loved everywhere he went and had a positive, healing, loving effect on all those he touched with his voice, hands and presence.

Even recently he was giving inspirational talks to children in primary and secondary schools, students of the University of Third Age churches and other groups .

His destiny was to make him an example of moral, spiritual courage and physical courage. The physical courage was just as real as in those running days. Now he was changing lives by giving an example of courage in life and love in action to generations – grown ups who had lost their way in our overly material world and to children looking for role models more satisfying than media celebrities and sport icons (of which he had been one).

What a wonderful destiny!

Paul came into this world for a reason and now I believe personally that he has been carried into Paradise to meet His Redeemer. He was a Christian with a very real faith which supported him daily .We talked often of his love for Christ and this faith gave him daily courage and strength to enjoy and love life to the full, which he did right up to the last .

I was due to pick him up for a meal in my house the day he passed away –we were both looking forward to this fellowship and catching up with all the news!

What an example of living and loving life to the full. Although blind, he had been one of the Olympic Torch bearers this summer. He and Kimberley went out walking every day and he continued giving weekly talks, as well as socializing in his local pub haunts and being a faithful member of his chapel.

AND HE TOUCHED EVERYONE WHO CAME INTO CONTACT WITH HIM.

Thank you Paul for the example of your life.