A BRIT holidaymaker who grappled shark is sacked – because he was on sick leave

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Paul Marshallsea

Paul with his wife Wendy and daughter Rachel in Australia
A BRIT holidaymaker who grappled a shark on an Australian beach has been sacked on his return home – because he was supposed to be on sick leave.

Paul Marshallsea, 62, was hailed a hero for grabbing the shark’s tail as it swam towards children paddling in the shallows. But after returning from two months Down Under, Paul and his wife Wendy have been fired by the charity they both worked for. Paul is now facing life on the dole in Merthyr Tydfil in the South Wales valleys, one of the country’s worst unemployment black spots. The father-of-three said: “What am I going to do now? There’s not much call for shark-wrestlers in Merthyr Tydfil.”

Paul and his wife were both on sick leave for work-related stress when they headed to Australia for a “get away from it all” sunshine break. But charity trustees decided Paul was skiving after seeing footage of him wrestling with the shark. When the pair returned home from holiday they were stunned to find a letter from the charity dismissing them “with immediate effect”. Paul and Wendy, 56, were both given extended sick leave by the Pant and Dowlais Boys and Girls Club where they worked for 10 years. The pair took the opportunity to visit friends in Australia and were having a barbecue on Bulcock beach when a fin was spotted in the water. Paul dropped his can of lager and ran into the waves to save a group of children from the jaws of the powerful shark.

A TV crew was filming nearby and captured pictures of Paul wading into the shallows to grip the 6ft-long dusky whaler shark and lead it out into deep water. The images were later beamed around the world and Paul became a national hero in Australia where lifeguards praised his bravery. But Paul, the charity’s project co-ordinator, said he is disgusted that the film has been used as evidence to get him sacked. He said: “If I hadn’t gone in to save the kids on that beach that day my wife and I would still have a job. “You think being in charge and running a children’s charity, they would have patted me on the back and congratulated me. “But to sack us both without any sort of discussions first is just disgusting.”

The trustees for Pant and Dowlais Boys & Girls Club were unavailable for comment. But the dismissal letter said: “Whilst unfit to work you were well enough to travel to Australia and, according to recent news footage of yourself in Queensland, you allegedly grabbed a shark by the tail and narrowly missed being bitten by quickly jumping out of the way. “The photographs and footage appeared in newspapers and television broadcasts. “The breakdown of the trustees’ confidence and trust in you and your ability to perform the role is so great that we find that dismissal is the only course of action we can recommend.”

Source : TS

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