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Dave Edwards meets Paul Knight

A FORMER Pontypridd RFC player who has been battling Multiple Sclerosis for 25 years will always treasure his memories of playing for the Sardis Road club, writes Dave Edwards.

Paul in his playing days.

Paul Knight was capped five times for Wales and also played for the Barbarians in a highly successful playing career. Playing at tight head prop, Paul made 138 appearances while playing for the Sardis Road club between 1987 and 1992.
He said: “Playing for Pontypridd was very special and I will never forget my years there.”
Paul, aged 62, is a wheelchair user and lives in a purposely adapted bungalow in Ystrad Rhondda to combat his illness.

In March 2001 Paul was instrumental in setting up the Rhondda Cynon Taff MS Society with bi-monthly meetings held at Coedylan School in Cilfynydd.
Paul said: “Looking back I thought that because of my rugby background and having played for Wales I could make people more aware of MS. I wanted to give them the support and re-assurance which I knew they needed so much. I was involved with the Society for a few years until my MS had progressed and made it difficult to carry on.”

As the illness progressed Paul went through a range of emotions.
“Most of all I had to accept the illness and what it might do to me and I found that very difficult.
Although there came a time when I accepted that I had a serious illness it didn’t mean that I wasn’t going to battle it. I had been capped five times for my country, played twice for the Wales B side and also played for the Barbarians and I was very proud of that. Along with that I had travelled to many parts of the world which I wouldn’t have been able to do if I had not been involved in the sport. Rugby has been good to me and I shall always be grateful for that”.

While a patient at Rookwood hospital in 2009 Paul was visited by former Pontypridd, Wales and British Lion rugby player Tom David who later described him as “an inspiration”.

Although facing an opponent far more formidable than he faced on a rugby field Paul said he feels no anger or bitterness.

“I’ve had a rollercoaster life but I have coped with it thanks to the wonderful support of my family and friends”.

An event was held at the Sardis Road Club House in 2017 in honour of
Paul Knight and he is pictured here with Martyn Williams, Bob Harris & Tom David.
Former Wales, Leeds and Swansea footballer Alan Curtis pictured on a visit to Paul.