On Tuesday 19th September Paul found himself out west and in Cheltenham for the very first time.
As well as the home of the internationally famous Cheltenham Races it is also the home of Cheltenham College, a proud and storied institution that has stood since 1841.
Paul was in town for a speaking event at the Cheltenham College Prep School, where children from the ages of 3 to 13 are educated.
He ran two sessions at the school, the first for children aged 10-11 and then a second for children aged 12-13.
Paul’s story always captures the imagination and the children at Cheltenham College were equally enthralled by the mix of performance and fun that Paul brings with his storytelling, on the very serious themes of racism and abuse that he suffered.
And hearing those words aloud can be disturbing and powerful.
Paul also touched on the importance of respect for your parents, respect for education, self-belief, following your dreams, mental health and why you should talk with someone – be it a parent or teacher – when you have problems.
Ultimately, Paul’s story is a glowing example of resilience and determination in the face of immense pressure.
When the session moved to the Q&A session, the children were very excited about Paul’s career as a professional footballer and there were lots of questions around that!
Direct feedback after the event via a parent of one of the children that was in attendance, reassured that the key messages had been received and understood:
“…despite all the horrible things that his own fans said to him he carried on because it was right for him and everyone else after him…“
“…they, the fans, were so wrong — so wrong, and now he is a legend and has his own suite!“
After the talks, Paul was given a tour of the Chapel, which he described as a breath-taking and moving experience, given his Christian faith.
It was a memorable morning and the Paul Canoville Foundation would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Cheltenham College Prep School for having Paul talk to the children and for the warm hospitality received.