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Rifleman Paul Jacobs seeks runner to be 'eyes' in marathon after being wounded by Taliban in Afghanistan

By Mary Louis
Rifleman Paul Jacobs with personal trainer Jason Turner
Rifleman Paul Jacobs with personal trainer Jason Turner

An extraordinary young soldier honoured with one of the highest awards for bravery is seeking a runner to be his eyes on his next mission to help others.

Blind rifleman Paul Jacobs, 24,of the 2nd Battalion The Rifles, is planning to run in the USA Marine Corps Marathon for charity in Washington DC in October.

Almost exactly four years after he was injured in a huge Taliban bomb blast while serving in Afghanistan, Paul, from Ramsgate, is appealing for a runner volunteer to support him in training and at the event as a guide.

Paul, who was brought up in Thanet and is a former Hereson School pupil, has rightly been described as “a shining example of what can be achieved out of adversity.”

He was awarded the George Medal for his “sheer personal courage and startling determination” after a valiant attempt to bring back the body of a colleague following an initial explosion.

A second bomb had then gone off, killing another British soldier and causing Paul’s devastating injuries.

Paul remarkably dragged himself, bleeding from many wounds, to a mine-free area where he could be safely rescued.

Paul Jacobs, who was awarded the George Cross for bravery, with personal trainer Jason Turner
Paul Jacobs, who was awarded the George Cross for bravery, with personal trainer Jason Turner

He had lost his right eye and been blinded in his left and was in a coma for three weeks after the incident.

He has demonstrated his bravery, determination and ability to overcome challenges since that fateful day in the summer of 2009.

Paul has worked tirelessly to raise some £500,000 for different charities to date.

His achievements include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for St Dunstans, the charity that supports blind ex-servicemen and women, completing a 13,000ft skydive to raise money for SSAFA Forces Help, and taking part in a gruelling two week 90km Arctic Telemark expedition, up and down mountains, for charity Pilgrim Bandits which supports injured forces. He has also cycled 500 miles from Edinburgh to London.

As he builds up fitness, Paul is working with friend, personal trainer Jason Turner in running a newly launched bootcamp at The Pavilion Tennis Courts and Coffee Hut, Spencer Square, Ramsgate, to raise money for the Royal British Legion, another charity close to his heart.

He has a unique role at the bootcamp, from 7-8pm on Wednesdays.

The weekly fixture, combining fun and fitness, attracts all ages, shapes, sizes and people with vastly different levels of fitness and costs £5.

“You are taught to adapt and overcome any situation” - Rifleman Paul Jacobs, on his army training

Paul is partnered up with different participants for various activities. He said: “I am here to inspire those who come along, perhaps encouraging them to train a bit harder and to give them confidence around disabled people.”

His achievements against the odds he puts down to mind over matter and Army training.

He said: “You are taught to adapt and overcome any situation.”

He also emphasised the value of true friends and of having a good community base like his own in Ramsgate where he is known to many as Ginge, a cry back to his Army nickname Big Ginge.

He said: “No matter where I go or what I do, I will always come back to Ramsgate.”

Blind rifleman Paul Jacobs on his marathon for charity
  • Anyone interested in volunteering as a marathon guide for Paul can contact him by email:pauljacobs.gm@gmail.comor catch up with him at the bootcamp. For more on the bootcamp, contact Jason Turner on 01843 597141 or 0752 516629.
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