Huntingdonshire man gets Tanni Grey-Thompson, Austin Healey and London Mayor Boris Johnson to sign oars for charity

16:00 05 April 2014

At his home in Catworth, Paul Westerman, with the chairty oards and cricket bats.

At his home in Catworth, Paul Westerman, with the chairty oards and cricket bats.


Paul Westerman has had a tough time. He almost died from a pulmonary embolism and was later seriously injured in a car accident.

But now he is on an oar-some mission.

The 47-year-old is getting sports stars and celebrities to sign a pair of oars which he intends to sell at a charity auction. He had been intending to run a half-marathon but that idea was scuppered by the car accident.

Paul, of High Street, Catworth, told The Hunts Post he collapsed in his bathroom in April 2011 after a blood clot travelled from his knee, where he had suffered deep vein thrombosis (DVT) following an injury, through his heart to a lung. He was taken to Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon, where staff, who originally thought he would not survive, saved his life.

After recovering, Paul hoped to run a half-marathon, raising money and awareness for Lifeblood: The Thrombosis Charity. But he and his wife, Elissa, were seriously injured when a car drove into the back of their broken down car in August last year.

“Friends say that every time I try to do something I get injured, so I should get the oars signed by sportsmen and celebrities and sell them as it will be safer,” he said.

“I will be holding an auction on April 12, 2015, four years after my pulmonary embolism, to raise money for Lifeblood – the main thrombosis advice and guidance group which has supported me in the last three years.”

“The aim is to get people more aware of the signs of deep vein thrombosis as it claims more lives each year than breast and prostate cancer, road accidents and AIDS combined, and is often missed by medical professionals.

“After our accident last year, Elissa developed deep vein thrombosis and I had to tell her to go to the doctors to get it checked out.”

So far, the oars have been signed by London Mayor Boris Johnson, paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson, presenter Craig Doyle, rugby stars Austin Healey and Martin Bayfield and former cricketer Dean Headley. Hunts County Bats has donated two bats that will also be signed.

“The great thing about the oars is that they start conversations, so it raises awareness of DVTs and 
pulmonary embolisms,” he added.

Former Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton-Myler has agreed to sign the oars and Paul said he is in contact with tennis star Serena Williams’ agent and ex-rower Matthew Pinsent.



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