Tributes paid to charity founder killed in paddleboarding incident

Paul O'Dwyer, who was 42-years-old, co-founded the armed forces charity Sa1ute and raised significant sums for other charities

 Paul O’Dwyer with the Duchess of Cambridge at the RNLI Mumbles lifeboat station near Swansea last year (Photograph: Ben Birchall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Paul O’Dwyer with the Duchess of Cambridge at the RNLI Mumbles lifeboat station near Swansea last year (Photograph: Ben Birchall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Tributes have been paid to a charity founder and prolific fundraiser who died in a paddleboarding incident over the weekend. 

Former soldier Paul O’Dwyer, 42, was one of three people who lost their lives on the River Cleddau in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, on Saturday. 

The events surrounding the deaths are being investigated by emergency services.

O’Dwyer co-founded the armed forces charity Sa1ute, which paid tribute to him in a post on social media. 

“Yesterday’s nightmare is today’s reality as we wake up and realise we have lost a friend that gave so much of his life to help others,” the charity said on Instagram. 

“It still hasn’t sunk in that these tragic events have taken away someone in the prime of their life. 

The charity said O’Dwyer had a “real zest for life” and was “relentless in his drive for raising money for charity”, not just for Sa1ute but for other charities. 

Last month he took part in a 24-hour, 100-mile paddle down the River Wye, which raised more than £5,000 for Calon Hearts, a charity that provides heart screening equipment and defibrillators. 

He also helped to organise a mass paddleboarding event in September from Swansea to Port Talbot, which raised more than £2,000 for the RNLI. 

Sa1ute said: “He put in tireless hours in the background of Sa1ute, meeting with potential donors or people that could help us progress.

“More often than not, we’d only know about it when he’d achieved something. Not seeking any form of recognition or pat on the back. Just doing it, cos he was a great guy.

“Our thoughts go out to Paul’s family and friends at this truly heartbreaking time. He will be missed by so many.”

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