Honouring Penarth Marine 'Woody': Fiancee vows to 'keep his legacy alive'
THE fiancee of a Penarth Marine who died in October is aiming to raise £13,000 in 2013, in his memory.
Sian Earls, the five-year partner of local serviceman Paul Woodland, has already raised £4,000 since the 32-year-old - popularly known as Woody - died.
More than 300 people have already donated to the cause through Sian’s JustGiving page, with pledges continuing to pour in.
All the money raised will be given to the Royal Marines Association (RMA), with Sian and several others planning fundraising cycles, hikes, runs, and social events over the coming months.
Sian, who lived with Paul on St David’s Crescent, said her aim was to keep his legacy alive.
Writing on her fundraising page she said: “Paul was a proud Royal Marine who lived life to the full and always tried to better himself. He was a special person and I will be grateful for every penny I raise.
“I will forever live in Paul's legacy and achieve all his dreams as well as my own. If I can help just one Royal Marine with the money I raise, then I know Paul didn't die in vain. His memory will live on, all I need is your support.”
Sian, originally from Hampshire, met the former Stanwell student at a fashion show in Cardiff Bay. A former member of the Navy herself, Sian said she started chatting with Paul, who was taking part for charity, and the pair hit it off.
She called him “her hero”, adding on her JustGiving site: "To your friends you were a legend, to your colleagues a leader, to our families one of a kind, but to me you were my hero. The day I lost you, I lost my best friend.
“Your job was your passion and you made everyone proud by with what you achieved."
Paul’s mum, Alicia, called him a “very protective and loving son”.
“I never thought he would end up with the Marines but in many ways it was the perfect job for him,” she said. “He was quiet but very adventurous and loved the outdoors.
“He made us so proud and was such a fair person. He always saw the good in people and never judged a soul.”
The fundraising challenges will begin in May when Sian, 28, will take part in a bank holiday weekend 300-mile cycle to all the bases where Paul was stationed throughout his nine-year service.
Then in August she will tackle Mount Kilimanjaro, alongside ten others from the military.
She said she wanted to challenge herself “just as Paul had”.
“The Royal Marines Association help families like ourselves, and veterans and injured soldiers - so I will be raising money every year for this great cause and will always set myself a target,” she added.
Among the others fundraising in memory of Paul are brothers and fitness-fanatics Scott and Rhys Jenkins, who are preparing to cycle across America from Seattle to Miami in July - a total of 4,000 miles, to be completed in just 12 days.
Sian and Alicia are also hoping to take part in a sponsored skydive.
More than 400 people attended Paul’s funeral at All Saint’s Church on October 25, and the family wanted to thank everyone who had rallied around.
“We'd like to thank our neighbours and friends for all their kindness,” said Sian.
“With the amount of food we had turn up on the doorstep, we didn't need to cook for two months. Thank you also to everyone for the beautiful flowers and cards, and thank you for your continued support.”
Paul left behind Sian, mum Alicia and dad Melwyn, brother Jamie, niece Amelie, four, and nephew Jacob, three.
“He will be greatly missed by his family and many friends,” said his mum.
* To help Sian reach her fundraising target log on to www.justgiving.com/Woody32
* More information is also available on the Facebook page www.facebook.com/PaulWoodlandsLegacy
* This Saturday (January 26) Sian is raffling off two tickets - each worth £75 - for the Wales v Ireland Six Nations International which takes place on Saturday, February 2. To be in with a chance of winning the tickets simply donate £5 to the justgiving page before noon on Friday night, along with your name and telephone number, and Sian will contact the winner.