Wales

Guide Dogs Cymru tribute to Paul Jenkins who raised £2.5m for charity

Paul Jenkins
Image caption Paul Jenkins carried on fundraising after losing his sight when he was in his 30s

Tributes have been paid following the death of an "inspirational, remarkable and positive" blind runner who raised more than £2.5m for charity.

Paul Jenkins, 56, from Roath, was a former athletics coach at the Wales Institute of Sport who lost his sight suddenly while in his 30s.

He ran his 100th marathon in 2005 after he lost his sight.

Guide Dogs Cymru's Allison Charles said his motto was 'Don't just say it - do it'.

Ms Charles, the charity's community fundraiser, said "He was an inspirational, remarkable and positive individual whose joy of life was infectious.

"He was a true advocate for Guide Dogs and we will miss him deeply."

Mr Jenkins lost his sight in the late 1980s when he was diagnosed with a condition which destroys the optic nerve called Lieber opticatrophy.

But the disability did not prevent him continuing his fundraising efforts.

Climbing Kilimanjaro

Before he lost his sight, he completed 99 marathons around the world starting in 1981, including nine in London.

He also raised funds for various charities with activities including a parachute jump, driving a racing car, flying a plane, climbing Kilimanjaro and horse trekking in Canada.

He could be seen regularly walking along the Taff Trail in Cardiff with his black Labrador Kimberley and the pair were selected to carry the Olympic torch across Clarence Bridge in Cardiff last May.

Image caption Mr Jenkins had run 100 marathons

The dog was found beside him when he died unexpectedly last week.

In 2005 Mr Jenkins was invited to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen, in recognition for his charity work.

He gave regular talks to school primary and secondary school pupils on behalf of Guide Dogs Cymru and also helped stroke patients. He also helped start the Touch Trust for profoundly disabled people, the aim of which is to stimulate the senses with light, music and sound.

He was also a regular contributor on BBC Radio Wales.

Mr Jenkins' niece Saffron has set up a Facebook tributes page and there have also been many tributes to him on a Cardiff City fans' site. He was a keen Bluebirds fan, and listened to the matches on the radio.

Ms Jenkins said: "Paul's family would like to thank all those that have shown their support and kindness at this difficult time. It has been a strong reflection of how popular Paul was."

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