Polio saved Sidmouth musician from human sacrifice

MUSICIAN Paul Roberts doesn t remember contracting polio as an 11-month old baby, but the affects of the disease have remained with him ever since.

MUSICIAN Paul Roberts doesn't remember contracting polio as an 11-month old baby, but the affects of the disease have remained with him ever since.

Paul, 32, who has graced Sidmouth's streets and wowed passers-by with his musical talents for more than a decade, has urged readers to back Rotary's appeal to end the suffering of others.

Ironically Polio saved Paul from becoming a human sacrifice as a baby in war torn Sierra Leone in West Africa before.

"They didn't want to give God something that was spoiled. Where I was raised in Sierra Leone, children are needed to work in the house.

"If you can't, you are considered to be not any good to your parents, so mine put me in a children's home when I was two."

Paul was adopted by missionaries when he was seven and brought to the UK. He has since battled the physical adversity polio left him with in his first year of life. He has to wear a leg brace and use crutches when outdoors.

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Paul, who is now married and became a father for the first time last month, said: "It affected my muscles and growth and I'm not as tall as I'm supposed to be. I've had to use crutches all my life- and if it wasn't for the leg brace things would be a lot harder.

Without it I'd be crawling around on my hands and knees.

"When I came to England I had an operation on my legs, my left one was twisted inwards. I have become self- employed as disabled musician but the polio means I can't lug equipment all over the place. I need help with heavy lifting and it does restrict me going up and down hills and streets although I used to fall over a lot more than I do now.

It is a challenge but life goes on- I've got my own family now. The people of Sidmouth have been fantastic and supported me in different ways.

There are a number of difficulties that do bring frustration. My dream job was to be a driving instructor and the most frustrating thing is it does stop you from doing what you want to, but it doesn't stop you from trying.

"It affects me but I don't let it get me down and I don't want people to feel sorry for me.

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