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Kate Bush's ex-bodyguard defies MND diagnosis - and forms punk band

PUBLISHED: 06:30 11 September 2019

Paul Wharton has been a life-long punk lover and formed his own band in December last year. Picture: Ruth Lawes

Paul Wharton has been a life-long punk lover and formed his own band in December last year. Picture: Ruth Lawes

Archant

A former bodyguard to the stars was given just years to live but has defied the odds to embrace life as a punk rocker.

Paul Wharton, who worked as personal security for Kate Bush and Ronnie Corbett, was a 20 stone powerlifter and would hit the gym at 5am every morning before work.

But in 2014, the 53-year-old from Sprowston noticed his grip weakening and fitness slipping at his job as a prison officer in Kent.

And after several years of tests, he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and given just three years to live by doctors.

Mr Wharton said: "When you get the diagnosis you know you're going to go and you're going to go soon and you've just got to face it straight on.

"I know what path I'm taking and I have just got to do it in a shorter time."

Now five years since the diagnosis, the father-of-two has returned to his first love - punk music - and formed a band called the Motorneronz with three old school friends from Norwich in December last year.

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Mr Wharton, who is the band's frontman and singer, said: "I want to do what I love which is being back on stage. Punk music is the lifestyle that is keeping me going.

"It has always been about DIY culture which makes you believe in yourself and push yourself forward."

It also spurred him on to move from Maidstone and return to Norwich for the first time since 1990 to relieve his happiest years as a punk rocker in Pottergate in the eighties.

Mr Wharton said: "Norwich is where I want to be and I moved back to be with my friends.

"I have an incredible support network here and I have at least one friend visit me a day to walk my dog and hang out with me. It's a punk family."

Mr Wharton and the Motorneronz will be performing at The Mole's Rest on Fifers Lane as part of a punk festival called Make It Count 2 to raise money for MND.

He said: "Losing the use of my arms will not stop me going to gigs and rehearsing with the band and I want to do gigs while I still can."

The festival is on Saturday, September 28 from 2pm until midnight with 10 other punk bands set to perform. 
Entry is free but a donation box will be at the door.

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