It was with great sadness we learnt that Honorary Board Member and Vice President of Special Olympics GB Paul Anderson OBE, passed away last week. Paul was a hugely passionate advocate for Special Olympics, and we are truly grateful and thankful for all his hard-work, dedication, and enthusiasm he put into our organisation.

Born in Kent and educated at Sutton Valence school, Paul was always a huge sports fan. At school, Paul was a proud member of the first XV team, his position as winger led him to be part of the first XV for the Harlequins rugby club. A passion for the game and club which saw Paul go onto become Chair of the Harlequin Players Association. A role he held for 15 years, only stepping down in 2017.

Away from the rugby pitch, Paul was an extraordinarily successful sailor who won a bronze medal in the 5.5 metre sailing event in the Olympic Games in Mexico in 1968. Four years earlier, Paul skippered the British challenger, Sovereign, in the 1964 America’s Cup held at Newport, Rhode Island.

As an Olympian, Paul maintained his connections to the movement. After retiring from working in the oil industry for more than 35 years, Paul joined the Special Olympics movement in 1990 as Special Olympics Director General of Europe with the role to develop and grow the movement across Europe.

Under Paul’s leadership from 1990-1994, the number of countries running Special Olympics programmes doubled in Europe. From 1994, Paul was at the helm of Special Olympics in Great Britain up until his retirement in 2000. In 2002, Paul joined the Board of Directors as Vice Chairman. In 2011, Paul was awarded an OBE for his services to Special Olympics GB.

Paul was also a past Chairman and committee member of the British Olympians Association.

Paul died suddenly on 7th March at his home in Tenterden, Kent. Our condolences go to his widow, Maureen and his children and grandchildren.