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Paul Battrick MBE

Managing Director / Centenier / Charity Chairman

If I had to choose a single word to sum up the last 12 months of my personal and professional life it would be the word “courage”. Courage comes in many forms. For our healthcare workers, it was finding the courage to go to work each day. To compromise not only their own health, but that of their families. Some people battled with their mental health while living in complete isolation. Others were forced to self- isolate by virtue of age or their health. The elderly had little physical contact with their grandchildren and some people had to die alone.

During lockdown, I was appointed by the Government to deal with the first ever COVID death in Jersey. As a funeral director, death is something I deal with several times a day. But I was not mentally prepared for how I would feel. I recall feeling a mixture of emotions. Fear, sadness, anxiety at the stark reality that COVID-19 had finally hit Jersey, and it’s true to say I was initially terrified.

In my personal life, the last 12 months have been a journey of self discovery where I was forced to choose courage over comfort. After a year of self reflection, I made a life-changing decision to have bariatric surgery. This resulted in a 10 and a half stone loss.

Being a funeral director, I regularly see people who have lost their lives to diabetes or heart attacks through obesity, and it caused me to confront an ugly truth that my own life was rapidly heading in the same direction. I’d previously tried slimming clubs, calorie counting, and a personal trainer, but for me nothing seemed to work and my will power was weak. Having never had an operation before, I was forced to accept that one of the hardest parts of life was finding the courage to try. I’m so glad I did. This was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I feel reborn and alive, and I have more energy than ever.

As the saying goes, “it’s never too late to be who you want to be” (F. Scott Fitzgerald).