Back in October 2023 Paul was invited to visit his old Secondary School in London to have a chat with pupils and teachers about what he's achieved since leaving school.
Rachel had a chat with Paul about his experience.
Rachel: How did you feel about being invited back to your old school?
Paul: I was excited, it was a good feeling to be able to go back there
Rachel: How many years had it been since you'd last been there?
Paul: I left school in 2006, so 17 years!
Rachel: Was it how you remembered it?
Paul: No, it is very modern looking now. They have built a new football and basketball court- it was a muddy field when I was there!
Rachel: Did you remember any of the teachers?
Paul: Yes, I met some of my old teachers and they all remembered me. I met some of the new ones too
Rachel: Who was your favourite teacher when you were a pupil?
Paul: My favourite teachers were Mr Cole (maths), Miss Adams (Geography) and Mr England (P.E). Mr England has left now but I got to see my other 2 favourite teachers which was good. I felt very grown up talking to them about my life now.
Rachel: What did you get up to when you were at the school then?
Paul: They gave me a tour of the school- some bits were the same but a lot had changed and been updated. I then gave a talk to about 25 pupils, aged 17-19 about my sporting experience and taking part in the Special Olympics. The group were interested and listened to me. I talked about when I trained for the Westminster run too and I showed them my medal. They also asked me some questions too.
Rachel: What questions did they ask you?
Paul: they asked how old I am, what colour my eyes are (hazel brown) and they also asked me my favourite football team. I didn't answer that question as the area is known for supporting Arsenal and I'm a Tottenham fan!
Rachel: Saves causing a riot haha. Did the teachers ask you any questions?
Paul: Yes, they wanted to hear about what else I'd achieved (outside of sports) since I'd left school. I told them about my work with the University and taking part in lectures to share my experiences. They also asked about where I live now- I told them I live by the pier in Bangor, I am happy there it feels safe and that's important.
They also said how I didn't sound any different, my accent hasn't changed even though I have been living in Wales for a long time now.
Rachel: That's interesting- my Essex accent has long been replaced by a Welsh twang! Was it the same headmistress there as when you were at school?
Paul: Yes, she was the same- just older! She will be retiring sometime so I'm glad I got to go back and visit when she is still working there.
Rachel: If you were invited back again would you go?
Paul: Yes definitely, I hope the students found my talk interesting and it's nice to visit!
Thank you Paul for taking the time to chat with me, here's a photo of Paul outside Oak Lodge School in East Finchley, London.