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Dunoon’s citizen of the year, Paul Kerr, has been an inspiration to many since he developed MS at such a young age.


Since the publication of his book Mega Stubborn he has motivated people throughout the world to fight through debilitating conditions.


He has also been an inspiration to his family, however.


Paul’s nephew Rory (above), a pupil at Toward Primary School, entered a Cowal Speakers’ Club competition.


Although Rory did not make it through to the final, speakers’ club committee members were so impressed with his speech they thought it deserved a wider audience.


This is the speech Rory wrote and delivered. It may not be grammatically perfect, but the emotion and affection are laid bare…





Mr Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls. Today I would like to talk to you about my uncle.


I was talking to my mum one day recently and I said when I grow up I would like to be my uncle Paul.


My mum said that was a really nice thing to say, and said that I should talk about him for my speech.


To me he is Uncle Paul.


To his old school friends, he is PK.


And to his other friends he is called Royal.


Paul joined the marines when he was younger. He water-skied over to his interview, which his bosses thought was very impressive. He stayed in the marines for a long time and drove landing crafts. One time he drove a landing craft down the Clyde and stopped at my grans house and she brought tea and toast over to the boat for all the marines to have.


Paul worked on an American base on an island for a year in the Indian Ocean called Diego Garcia. When he wasn’t working Paul windsurfed and kite surfed, he was very talented. He also had a pet gecko.


When a marine leaves they never stop being a marine, they have to go through serious mental and physical training and at the end of it they are awarded their green beret, that is why Paul’s marine friends still call him Royal, short for Royal Marine.


When my uncle left the marines he went to the Antarctic to survey fishing boats, when he came back he had a big beard and my mum screamed when she saw him because she thought a stranger had broken into the house.


When it came to outdoor things Paul was doing it.


I love being outdoors like Paul, I love windsurfing, mountain biking and snowboarding, but that’s not the reason that I want to grow up to be like my uncle.


I want to be like Paul because he has a strength and determination that I have never seen in anyone else.


Eight years ago my uncle became very ill. He had to go through lots of tests and the doctors told him he had a condition called MS.


I was only two at the time, and can’t remember it, but my mum has told me.


Paul had to learn how to walk again, from scratch. The doctors gave him a wheelchair but he said he didn’t want to use it.


So they gave him a leg brace and crutches.


Every day he would walk a wee bit further than he had the day before. He was able to walk to his bedroom door, then next time as far as the hall. Then as he got stronger he was able to go outside.


Paul would make himself walk along the road holding onto the railings.


Over a few months he decided to set himself a target; the 3-peak challenge in 24 hours.


He told his friends, and they said they would come and do it too.


And they did.


Paul raised £20,000 for the MS Society.


The next year he decided to set himself another challenge; to swim across the Clyde.


He told his friends about this challenge and they said again that they would do it too.


And they did.


The Clyde Charity swim has become a yearly event and people travel from all over the world to do it. My big brother has done it and my mum.


Lots of people, including my mum, have now started open water swimming every week, and this is all because of my uncle.


Last year was the Commonwealth Games and my uncle was nominated by local people to carry the baton. The day that the baton passed through Dunoon there were lots of people there to support Paul.


He was followed by film crews and I saw it on TV later on that night. It made me feel really proud.


Paul sometimes walks and is really unsteady on his feet, but he never gives up.


He says that you have to get up every day and push yourself and that although he is frustrated that there are lots of things that he can’t do, there are lots of things that he can do.


People say that my uncle Paul is inspiring, that he gets up and fights against whatever is thrown at him.


This is true.


Every month he goes to the hospital in Glasgow to get his medication.


The specialist there gives him a brain scan to see whether his MS has got worse.


The doctor told him that he couldn’t understand it, but his brain scan had shown that his brain was actually beginning to heal itself, he had never seen it before and could only put this down to his positive mental attitude.


He was asked to write a book about how he is fighting against his MS, he spent two years writing it and it is now on its second print run. Lots of people bought it and he has had two book signing days in bookshops.


He has been to the Marine Headquarters in England to give speeches to injured Marines to help inspire them not to give up.


I am proud to say that I am Paul’s nephew.



0 #1 Rod Spinks ex RM 2015-12-10 19:52
Where can I get Pauls book,I havn't got MS but I suffer with chronic pain 24/7,on loads of drugs,& have had 7 major Operations since 2007,resulting that I have 4 electrodes glued onto my spinal cord so (NO MRI )if ever required and loads of scar tissue inside my back it feels like a branch of a tree all the time and raw,Bt being a Bootneck means I will never give up.My aim is to collect for our wounded Royal Marines in a small RM museum we have made in Landguard Fort.Felixstowe .From April 1st to Nov 1st we collected £2,489.
Happy Christmas to one and all

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