Paul Freedman MBE: Hornchurch marathon man’s legacy will ‘live on’

Paul Freedman MBE

Paul Freedman MBE - Credit: Archant

An enthusiastic marathon runner, charity fundraiser and much loved member of the community has sadly passed away after losing his battle with cancer.

Paul Freedman MBE holding the Olympic torch in 2012

Paul Freedman MBE holding the Olympic torch in 2012 - Credit: Archant

Paul Freedman MBE died at King George Hospital, in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, on Saturday but will not be forgotten thanks to his extensive efforts raising money for charity and his sense of humour.

Paul, from Stanley Close, Hornchurch, was a member of Havering’s 90 Joggers and ran 24 London marathons, his first was at the age of 69, and was one of the torchbearers for the 2012 London Olympics.

Despite being the oldest runner in the 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015 marathons Paul never let it faze him as he truly live by his motto, which was “Keep moving, do as much charity work as you can and have a sense of humour.”

The former RAF flight mechanic raised more than £100,000 for St Francis Hospice, in Havering-atte-Bower, who cared for his wife Renee before she died of cancer in 2007 - and volunteered there every Christmas day since 1993.

Paul has received numerous accolades and titles for his work in the community - including an MBE in 2008 and an award presented by Sir Roger Moore last year for his fundraising for the hospice.

Several staff members at St Francis paid tribute Paul - hailing him as an ‘inspiration’ to everyone he met.

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Pam Court, Chief Executive of the hospice, said: “Our thoughts are with Paul’s family at this sad time and while he is no longer with us, he has left a legacy that will live on.

“Paul was the most incredible ambassador for the hospice and he was a great inspiration to everyone who met him”

Gill Wendelken, the voluntary services manager, said that Paul’s humorous personality made him a favourite among the hospice’s patients.

“Paul not only provided, for many years, invaluable practical support to the patients, but he also included within that a very generous helping of wit and humour, wrapped up in his friendly personality, in order to give the hospice patients a special time on Christmas Day.”

Clare McPartland, Head of Marketing and Communications at the hospice, said: “The publicity he gave the hospice was unrivalled and his attitude was always one of positivity and drive – he was an absolute joy to work with. He embraced every opportunity with open arms and we will always be grateful for everything he did for us.”

Paul also appeared on BBC Radio Five Live a couple years ago in a hilarious interview which you can listen to on this page.

Paul’s funeral is being held today at the Waltham Abbey Jewish Cemetery.

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