Belfast Telegraph

‘Paul touched the worlds of so many people,’ says father of Banbridge man who took own life

Paul Oldham suffered from various mental health issues
Paul Oldham suffered from various mental health issues

By Leona O'Neill

The father of a man who took his own life says he has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support since speaking out about the tragedy.

Personal trainer Paul Oldham, a 38-year-old father-of-one from Banbridge, died on February 4.

His dad Phillip said the family have been inundated with messages from people who read about his son since the story appeared in the Banbridge Chronicle and the Belfast Telegraph.

Paul, dad to Alfie (6), had struggled with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression and anxiety over the last 10 years.

He had set up his own gym - Alchemy Fitness Therapies CIC in Lisburn - to help others battling mental health issues.

Some of those he had helped in his gym paid tribute to him on the Belfast Telegraph's social media platforms yesterday.

One mum wrote: "Paul was far from your 'average' personal trainer.

"He meant a lot to my family because of the huge impact he'd had on our son's recovery from years of severe mental illness.

"I am so very thankful that we got to have him in our lives.

"My family will never forget what he has done for us and I know that we're not alone in that."

Another wrote: "If only he knew how much we all loved him. I couldn't thank him enough for all he has done for me. Always just focusing on others."

Phillip said that his son had touched people's lives, saved people's lives, and made a massive difference.

"Paul touched a lot of people's lives. Lots of people, parents for example, have come forward and told us what he did for them," he said.

He added that one story in particular had touched him.

"One young man had been housebound. He was living with his parents. He never left his bedroom. He had no social life at all. He came to Paul's gym and worked with him," he said.

"He is now apparently living independently on his own and doing extremely well. This lad had mental health issues himself and had basically locked himself away from the world. That is what Paul's aim was, changing lives for the better. He wanted to look after people and help them. That was just one of the stories. And it makes his family so proud that he was able to achieve these things.

"He had not been able to do it for himself, but he helped others and be forward with his thinking on how he could make a difference to people.

"If Paul knew the impact he had on people's lives, he was happy with that.

"He didn't bask in the glory of it. He just continued to keep doing his everyday stuff and helped as many people as he could. My son saved lives."

If you, or anyone close to you, is affected by issues in this article, contact the Samaritans free on 11 6123 or Lifeline on 080 8808 8000

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