Norwich City Football Club are delighted to welcome Paul Loveday for this Sunday’s Legends Game between Inter Forever and Norwich City.
Lifelong Canary fan Paul was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) in 2009.
Paul was bedridden, suffered extreme fatigue and was medically retired from work aged 33. His condition gradually worsened to the point where he was crippled by incessant agony.
“It’s hard to describe just how much ME takes away from you in such a short time - the frustration of feeling constantly exhausted. The pain in every inch of my body was indescribable, but ‘thankfully’ I was in a deep coma-like sleep most of the time.
“I laid in a darkened room, with my body mentally and physically on shutdown. I remember one time I collapsed when I was walking up the stairs and laid there for hours until I had the strength to move again.”
Due to inactivity throughout his illness, Paul put on three and a half stone. His body couldn't cope with movement, noise or light and he also had difficulty sleeping.
“Not working or having a routine made me feel depressed and frustrated, I became dependant on a cocktail of prescribed medication, ranging from strong painkillers to mild antidepressants.”
Five years after his diagnosis, Paul’s health was gradually improving - he was slowly building up his physical and mental skills and was able to walk with a stick.
The Norwich City season ticket holder spent a year volunteering for Age Concern Norfolk, teaching pensioners about social media and how to use laptops and iPads.
“I was gradually able to leave the house, both accompanied and alone. I could also socialise a little through my volunteering. I felt I had the energy to help a friend run a local football team, and decided if I could get paid to coach that would be really great.”
Paul was starting to feel stronger mentally and physically. He joined his local gym and went on to lose 65 pounds over three years.
“Through some friends at the gym, I heard about the job vacancy for community coaches and decided I was well enough to apply.”
After volunteering with CSF, Paul was soon offered a part-time role in the Foundation’s Schools Programme, delivering after school clubs.
He is now the Lead Premier League (PL) Kicks Coach and delivers across a wide range of programmes to help disabled and disadvantaged people in Norfolk.
“I struggled for many years but there were two things I hoped for and wanted to be one day - happy in my work and to make a difference. I feel my job now allows me to do just that, whilst helping others.”
Please give a big Carrow Road welcome to Paul on Sunday as he brings out the match ball prior to kick off!
There are now limited tickets available for the Norwich City Legends v Inter Forever match on Sunday at Carrow Road.
Tickets are priced at £9.93 for adults and £1.93 for under-18s and can be purchased online at tickets.canaries.co.uk, by phone on 01603 721902 or from the ticket offices at Carrow Road, Castle Mall or Chapelfield.
There are also Premium tickets available at a price of £19.93. With these tickets, you can gain access to one of the four City Stand Lounges, a complimentary matchday programme and a complementary replica pin badge.