Heartbroken parents of Paul Russell launch cookbook to keep memory alive of son with love for life and beautiful smile

A new cookbook will be launched on Wednesday night to keep alive the memory of a young Co Down man whose love for life shone through in everything he did.
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Paul Russell, who was born with a rare genetic condition called Apert Syndrome, died aged 23 at his home in Dromore in June last year.

His mum Jane said: “On the morning of June 27, 2022 our lives were shattered forever. Finding our son, Paul, aged 23, had passed away in his sleep has got to be every parent’s nightmare and unfortunately, we are those parents.

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"We are heartbroken, but want to keep Paul’s memory alive both now and for the years to come.

Paul with his mother and father Jane and RonniePaul with his mother and father Jane and Ronnie
Paul with his mother and father Jane and Ronnie

"Paul was the most laid back, loving young man you would ever wish to meet. His love for life and everything he did shone through with the most beautiful smile.”

Paul, who won the 2011 Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland UTV Young Persons Award, had a rare condition which required hundreds of hospital appointments and admissions, both locally and in London.

His mum said: "Even with his limitations due to his physical condition he tried everything. Something we, as parents, encouraged him to do.”

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Eight weeks after Paul’s death, his family and a large number of friends walked 60 miles in 30 days to raise £12,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, followed by a further £11,700 for Stepping Stones NI with various fundraisers and donations.

On stage with Stacey Solomon at the Spirit of NI AwardsOn stage with Stacey Solomon at the Spirit of NI Awards
On stage with Stacey Solomon at the Spirit of NI Awards

Explaining the thinking behind the cookbook ‘Russell Up a Recipe!’ which contains more than 130 recipes, Jane said: “Anyone who knew Paul would know of his love for food. He enjoyed all types of food. Over the years Paul endured many surgeries and as soon as he came back to the hospital ward from theatre he was always asking for his dinner.

"Friends and professionals who travelled alongside Paul over the years were invited to submit a recipe and if they wished to dedicate it in memory of a loved one.

"Thank you to those who contributed towards the book, either by submitting a recipe, advert or a money donation and a big thank you to the businesses for their advert sponsorship.”

The book – which was designed by DUP councillor Peter Haire – launches on Wednesday at the Palace Demense in Armagh.