Tuesday, 27 June 2017

An interview with local speaker and writer, Patrick Souiljaert.

     I hope you enjoyed reading the inside story of Blood and Bandages.
     William and I have now moved onto the book's marketing phase and last weekend, we had great fun at the Armed Forces Day in Worthing.
William and I set up our stall. 
(courtesy of Brian Woodford)
While we were there we met...
the engaging Sophie Cook, ex-RAF Tornado aircraft engineer and Labour parliamentary candidate for Shoreham and East Worthing,

respectful ex-medical personnel with whom William established an instant rappour

and the fun-loving ladies from Bellydance Rocks who made William's day. 

     Our next 'appearance' is on the Mark Evans show at Seahaven FM on Friday 30th June at 7.20pm

Me, William and presenter, Mark Evans at the Seahaven FM studios.

     As promised, from now on I'll be reverting back to my previous blog style, interviewing characters of local interest. To that end, I recently met Patrick Souiljaert, beach resident, public speaker and author of ‘Stairs for Breakfast' and 'Screw It. I'll take the Elevator.'

Patrick and I gearing up for our interview

Patrick is 43 years old and has lived on Shoreham Beach since 1984. He has Cerebral Palsy, (CP).
Patrick Souiljaert

When I was born, the umbilical cord got wrapped around my neck. I couldn’t breath for four minutes and suffered brain damage. This caused my CP. CP effects my movement, co-ordination and muscle stiffness. It also means that I have to use four times more energy than regular people when I walk and talk. Like any disability, there are various degrees of severity and unfortunately my voice has also been effected.  If it hadn’t been, people would probably have been more at ease with me and just seen me as a guy who couldn’t walk properly. 
My CP does not effect my intelligence. Nor stop me from leading a regular life. I feel like I’m an able bodied man stuck in a disabled person’s body.
             In fact, I always thought I was a regular guy, but when I got into property investment, people kept telling me that I was inspirational and should write my autobiography. That was great, but they had no idea that my physical challenges were a piece of cake compared to my emotional struggles. So I spent a few years thinking about what and how I could write about my life before I actually started.
I type with one finger and to write an honest autobiography, I had to relive the very difficult and emotional times. After 15 months, I had managed to write 216,000 words, so many that I’ve split my story into two books.
The first book was called ‘Stairs for Breakfast.’  I chose that title because in 2011, I went to view a second floor flat. When the Estate Agent met me outside he saw I had CP and asked if I was OK to walk up. I told him that I ate stairs for breakfast. I’m working on the second book now. It’s called, ‘Screw it, I’ll take the elevator.’ It’s being crowd-funded so I can self-publish again.
As well as writing I’m a motivational speaker, and am currently seeking funding and support from Kaleidoscope Investments who help disabled entrepreneurs with their businesses.
In my mind, I can do anything, but I am also realistic. Having a disability is about knowing what you can do, accepting you have certain limitations and then overcoming them. And that’s what I do.
I see my CP as a gift and my can-do attitude is my greatest asset.

Patrick with his tireless PA, Maggie Paluch

On 14th October, at 7.30pm at St Peter’s Church Hall, West Street, Shoreham-by -Sea, Patrick and I will be talking about writing our respective books and signing them. Tickets are £4.50 and I will let you know how and where they can be purchased nearer the time. 
In a fortnight, I'll be featuring another local resident, Kyra Berry, who will talk about what it was like to be a Presiding Officer during the recent General Election. 
Thanks for dropping by and I shall look forward to seeing you on 7th July. 

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