Inspiring families to become fitter
The man who changed his life to start Charity for Kids is hoping to inspire local families to improve their fitness.
Paul Harris explained: “I used to play football but stopped 14 years ago when our eldest daughter was born.
“I started to drink and increased my smoking. Over an 8 year period I was drinking between one and half to two bottles of wine a day and smoking 20-30 cigarettes a day.
“It didn’t help that I was in a job which I hated but had no option but to keep doing it to pay the bills.
“It all came to a head one day when I bent down and realised I was holding my breath to tie my laces. I knew that at the age of 32, if I carried on the way I was going I wouldn’t be around to see my three girls grow up later in life.
“That day I made a decision to try to kick the drink and stop smoking. The only problem was I needed something to focus on. With this in mind I decided to raise funds for a charity or individual who needed help, this way I would continue with my fitness regime as I had made a commitment.
“My wife and I are very fortunate to have three healthy girls I decided to try to make a difference to sick, disabled and terminally-ill children.
“At the time there wasn’t a charity I was aware of that offered this support, so with this in mind after a conversation with a friend Charity for Kids was set up.
“At Charity for Kids we help disadvantaged Children of Hastings and Rother fund items which the NHS do not provide, to date the Charity has helped over 300 local children and their families - www.charityforkids.co.uk.
“A lot of the fundraising I do is by organising and taking part in various sporting activities, including running, swimming and cycling challenges or all three put together known as triathlon.
“In my early days of trying to get fit I did a lot of my training on my own, I felt too embarrassed to join a gym or club. However, over my 8 year journey I have met some amazing people who helped me with my fitness. I can’t thank them enough as it has changed my life for the better.
“As a result I am now wanting to do the same for the people who are in the position I was. I have recently set up a Triathlon Club known as St Mary’s Tri Club.
“Our aim is to be a welcoming family friendly club which gives the family the opportunity to train together in a relaxed and encouraging environment.
“I went from not being able to complete running a mile without stopping to running London Marathon. I have gone from not being able to cycle a bike very well to completing rides of a 100 miles plus. I have also gone from not being able to swim to completing my 3rd relay Swim across the English Channel.
“I believe with the correct coaching, advice and encouragement, you really can achieve pretty much anything you wish. I have gone from being very unhealthy to a very happy and healthy man with a real zest for life.
“The club offers swimming, cycling and running sessions throughout the week. We cater for all abilities from complete beginner to the advanced athlete.
“Our coaches include Dan Harlott GB Age Group Triathlete, Steve Baldock GB Age Group Gold Medallist, Sharna Harris Olympian Sydney 2000, along with myself.
“All coaches are qualified & fully insured to teach under the British Cycling, British Triathlon and England Athletics Governing Bodies, Paul is also a Mental Health Ambassador with England Athletics.
“If you are stuck in a rut, lost confidence would like to get fit and feel great, perhaps would like to train for an event or would like to find out more information contact me on 07478 443440 or email [email protected] or visit the website www.stmarystri.co.uk .”