Special Olympics Judo Coach Paul Everest was recently treated to a home renovation in recognition of his inspiring volunteer work with disabled athletes, as part of a daytime show hosted by Amanda Lamb where the homes of community heroes get a secret makeover.
The episode of Channel 4’s You Deserve This House is set to air Tuesday 3 July at 11am with an intimate look at the life and home of Paul, 47, a resident of St. Leonards-on-Sea.
“He was speechless!” his wife Paula exclaimed. “He 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 forever, but couldn’t manage to find the time with all his commitments!”
“I can’t believe it – what a great surprise,” Paul said. “I had no idea this was happening, and I don’t even know what to say!”
Paul was most recently honoured as a London 2012 Torchbearer in his community and has 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 only a year later was named the East Sussex 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. Paul has been involved with Special Olympics for over 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 specialized platform for practicing and competing in Judo at a national level.
“For me it’s the buzz you get from the athletes,” Paul comments. “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 Judo, Paul also works full-time as Clinical Team Leader Ambulance Paramedic and is a doting husband and father. Paul and his wife Paula have three children: a son they adopted when he was 5 years old; a middle daughter who is 8, and a 5 year old daughter who has diplegic cerebral palsy and is physically disabled and can’t stand or walk.
This is the second time a Special Olympics coach is featured in You Deserve this House series, back in February Gymnastics coach Jane Whetnall appeared in the premiere episode.