Paul O’Dwyer obituary | Charities

My cousin Paul O’Dwyer, who has died aged 42, put others before himself. During a charity paddleboarding event in October, Paul died after jumping into the River Cleddau in South Wales, not thinking of his own safety, to try to help other participants who had got into difficulties.

A former soldier, Paul was a doting father and an avid fundraiser. It was his fearlessness and adventurous spirit, his infectious smile and zest for life, that set him apart. He was a staff sergeant in the Territorial Army, with 108 Welsh Squadron of the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia), from 1999 until 2015, and served in Iraq. He became the UK army surf champion and trained as a ski instructor.

After leaving the military, in 2017 he co-founded the charity SA1UTE to support veterans in South Wales and co-launched Trampface to raise awareness of homelessness. He was also a great support for those with mental health issues.

He was a determined fundraiser – running 100ks, cycling, completing ultramarathons, the London Marathon, and Iron Man Wales. Just a few weeks before he died, Paul helped raise more than £4,000 for heart screening in Wales, paddling 100 miles along the River Wye in 24 hours.

In September he organised another event, that raised more than £2000 for the RNLI and local lifeguards. In February last year, he met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to the RNLI Mumbles lifeboat station in. Paul slept rough twice in the Calais Jungle refugee camp to raise awareness of the plight of refugees.

Paul was born in Neath, Port Talbot, the son of Kay (nee Francis), a staff nurse, and John O’Dwyer, a teacher. He left St Joseph’s RC comprehensive in the town with 11 GCSEs and joined the local steelworks. After a four-year apprenticeship, he passed his HNC with distinction, quickly rose up the ranks to electrical foreman and then became electrical engineer covering all electrical works across Tata Steel’s Port Talbot site. For the past year, Paul had been a manager at the Ocado grocery delivery service, overseeing electrical engineers.

As well as playing rugby for Aberavon Green Stars, Paul loved climbing mountains and in 2013 he started a walking group. The first trip arranged was a walk up Snowdon and one of those who joined the group that day was Ceri Munro. They hit it off and in 2016, a leap year, Ceri proposed to Paul live on the radio. They entered a competition called Get Me to the Altar and won a £20,000 dream wedding that had to be arranged in only six weeks, so they were married by the end of that year.

His family was everything to Paul, and he would visit his parents with a “Yo! Put the kettle on!” before sharing his latest adventures.

He is survived by Ceri and their son Finley; their first son, Gabriel, died at birth in 2016. He is also survived by two sons, Darcy and James, from an earlier marriage, by his parents and by his sister, Leanne.

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