I work at Finding Your Feet Amputee Charity where we help amputees with both their physical and emotional well-being. I am also going to schools to talk about my experiences as an amputee, alcohol awareness, railway safety, depression and self-esteem. Paul also was one of the winners of the Young Scot Awards, winning the Young Hero Award.
Which young Scot inspires you?
The Young Scot that inspires me is my oldest brother. He lives in London now and it took a lot of strength and hard work for him to make something of himself since we come from a very troubled background. He’s shown me how to be a better person and helped me an insane amount over the years.
What is the best thing about growing up in Scotland?
The best thing about growing up in Scotland is the culture and diversity. It has definitely gotten better over the years from back when I was a kid with the diversity and I believe it will only get better as time goes on with becoming more accepting of each other’s differences. I’m glad Scotland is a very forward-thinking country.
What would you most like people from older generations to know about young people?
I would like the older generation to understand or try to understand young people more. I’m aware that many of the older generation are “stuck in their ways” of how it used to be which is understandable to a degree as times are moving quickly. But it would be great if they could be more understanding for how things are moving now, that we are viewing disabilities, LGBTQIA, individual differences and a variety of other current social issues as things that we shouldn’t only accept, but embrace.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest achievement to date is winning the Young Hero Scot Award 2018. It was a brilliant way to reflect on far I’ve come as a person. I lost both of my legs four years ago due to mental health issues, drinking and a railway accident. It has taken me 3-4 years to overcome my disability and really accept myself as I am. It has been a long journey but I’m now very privileged to be able to share my experiences with the next generation to hopefully help them not make the same mistakes I made and really dig deep within themselves to overcome any challenges they may have in their lives and live in a lighter, happier way.
What would you most like to achieve in the future?
What I would like most to achieve in the future is to climb Ben Nevis as a double above knee amputee. I have always had issues with my prosthetics and pain, so I believe it is a bit of a distant goal, but I would love to be able to. To show that we as disabled people do not need to let our disability rule our lives and we can still go out and do amazing things, despite our differences.
What message would you like to give to other young people in Scotland?
The advice I would like to give to young people in Scotland is that you are not alone in your journey. Support is key and we should embrace that and not shy away from it. I have learnt throughout my journey the importance of support time and time again. I have had a massive amount of help from Finding Your Feet amputee charity and I would not have become the person I am today without their help, as well as the support of my family and friends. I would also urge young people to think twice before naively believing (like I did), that railway lines are not dangerous. That we are invincible. We are not, we are fragile as people compared to these massive amounts of power and we should not be putting ourselves in harms way for 10 seconds of a thrill. For myself, my life has completely change for stepping onto the railway line, and I extremely lucky to still be here. Many others are not so lucky. Don’t take the chance.
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