TV home makeover for community hero

Paul and Paula Everest, Amanda Lamb and the You Deserve This House team
Paul and Paula Everest, Amanda Lamb and the You Deserve This House team

A FATHER-OF-THREE was treated to a home renovation on TV in recognition of his inspiring volunteer work with disabled athletes.

Paul Everest, 47, of Asten Close, St Leonards, featured on Channel 4’s You Deserve This House on Tuesday (July 3).

He was treated to a night away and extremely surprised to discover the newly renovated house when he returned.

Paul said: “I couldn’t believe it. It was a great surprise and I had no idea this was happening.” You Deserve This House is presented by Amanda Lamb where the homes of community heroes get a secret makeover.

Paul’s wife, Paula, said her husband was ‘speechless’. She added: “Paul was so surprised to see all the hard work, and happy that the garden had finally been redone. He has wanted to fix it up for a while, but couldn’t manage to find the time with all his commitments.”

Paul founded Westerleigh Judokwai in 1995, which allows children with disabilities to train alongside able-bodied youngsters. He runs it at Claverham Community College in Battle. Paul was recently honoured as a London 2012 Torchbearer and been recognised for his work with disabled athletes with the Sussex Sports Coach of the Year and the BBC South East Coach of the Year awards, both in 2007.

In 2008, he was named the Special Olympics Coach of the Year, and a year later was named the East Sussex County Council Volunteer of the Year.

Paul was nominated for the show by Special Olympics GB chief executive Karen Wallin in recognition of his commitment to disability sport.

He has been involved with Special Olympics for more than 12 years and currently serves as the National Technical Director for the Special Olympics Great Britain judo programme.

The programme was founded by Paul, to provide his foster brother James with a specialised platform for practising and competing in judo at a national level.

He said: “For me it’s the buzz you get from the athletes. They appreciate anything you do. Like all of us they have bad days but all they need is some encouragement. And the smiles you get from them when they win, you just can’t explain it.” In addition to his volunteer commitments to Special Olympics and Westerleigh Judokwai, Paul also works full-time as clinical team leader ambulance paramedic. Paul and his wife have three children, a son they adopted when he was five, an eight-year-old daughter, and a five-year-old daughter who has diplegia cerebral palsy.