As Paul Connolly struggled to leave behind his painful, humiliating childhood in the notorious St Leonard's children's home, the ghosts of his past would not let go. The paedophiles and sadists had damaged so many kids. Some had died from suicide or heroin. Others, like Paul, had emerged, battered and illiterate, to try to find a place in the world. When a fall from a roof shattered his boxing ambitions, he survived in a brutal underworld of routine violence before eventually building a career as a celebrity fitness trainer, working with the stars of fashion and film. After Against All Odds became a surprise bestseller, everything changed for Paul. He found himself speaking at the House of Lords, and getting involved in projects with abused kids and illiterate adults. But a rare heart infection almost killed him, and the old demons still haunted him. Four years later, Paul has made a new world for himself, centred on his young family and a successful training business that mends broken bodies, builds confidence and changes young lives for the better. His story is a remarkable tale of endurance and survival - vivid, disturbing but ultimately uplifting, as the beaten child who was once told 'you'll never be worth a thing' becomes a man with the heart to love, live and embrace the future.
'It had been years since I had seen any of the children with whom I had grown up. When I left the children's home, I promised myself that I would have nothing to do with them, I was sure that my only chance of living a good life would be to put the past behind me, even though that meant saying goodbye to some of the people I loved the most - as well as the ones I hated...it turned out that six of us had died, several by slow suicide in the form of heroin abuse, and at least two by faster means.'
When two police officers arrived out of the blue at Paul Connolly's door, he learned the shocking news that, out of the eight children with whom he shared a dormitory in care, only two were still alive. The revelation unearthed painful memories of a childhood that, until this point, Paul had tried desperately to put behind him. Abandoned at two weeks old, Paul came of age in the infamous St Leonards's Children's Home in East London. The children there were routinely abused, often over the course of many years. All were underfed and unloved and told that they would amount to nothing. Angry and frustrated, Paul channelled his rage into boxing - but when an accident shattered his ambition to turn professional, he found his true calling and became a successful trainer, even working as a consultant on the pilot of a top model's fitness video. Paul has finally found peace and fulfillment beyond anything he could have imagined all those years ago. He has found happiness with his wife and children and now helps to heal broken bodies, build confidence and transform lives - but he will never forget his past and the unnecessary victims of broken society...
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