February 10, 2022 7.30 pm

Adi’s Legacy: Lincoln woman helps those in need to honour her late husband

Paula’s husband died of a brain tumour, and she has made it her life mission to honour his legacy

A woman from Lincoln has harnessed the emotion of losing her husband to a brain tumour by raising thousands of pounds for charity and launching her own community support group, offering supplies to those who need it.

The Lincolnite went to visit Paula Green, 50, and her mum Lucy Thomas, 71, who are the beating heart of Adi’s Legacy – non-profit community support group, a social media page which offers essential goods to those in need in the local area.

However, this tale starts long before the community group was set up in the middle of 2021, as Paula has been actively involved in charity work for a number of years, brought on by a true family tragedy.

In August 2013, Paula’s soulmate and husband, Adi Green, died of a brain tumour at just 47 years of age, which prompted Paula to set up a charity in his honour, in the hope of finding a cure for the wretched illness.

Adi Green passed away in 2013.

Working alongside The Brain Tumour Charity, Paula set up Adi’s Mission Fund, and has so far raised over £29,000 for the cause, which you can donate to here.

After years of fundraising efforts, Paula had an epiphany. She thought back to her husband, and what he would be doing if he were still here today.

She said: “Though I’ll never stop fighting and raising money for brain tumour awareness, I didn’t want Adi to be seen as ‘the guy with a brain tumour’ because he was so much more than that.

“He’d give his last penny to a homeless person, I want his legacy to be one of kindness and compassion, so we dedicated our work to helping vulnerable people as well.”

Paula helps people young and old, whether it is financial struggles, physical ailments or mental health fears. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Paula’s commitment is astounding. She works two jobs and spends her entire free time gathering, organising and delivering donations to those less fortunate than herself, all stored in her mother Lucy’s house and garage.

Adi’s Legacy began with donations to the YMCA, before becoming a helping hand for various charities across Lincolnshire, no matter the cause. Paula and Lucy help support animal rescues, homeless shelters and children in hospitals, all from the goodness of their hearts.

It then prompted the launch of the Facebook group, which has amassed over 1,300 members in just six months, helping improve the lives of over 150 families in that short time.

The hard work never stops, but it’s all for a good cause. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

“I don’t do it for recognition, I do it out of kindness” said Paula, almost bashful at the idea that her voluntary work deserves praise.

“When I post things on the group I always make sure people are aware I don’t do it for the wrong reasons. I show everyone everything we do because I want supporters to see what they are supporting.

“The fact of the matter is without the supporters and group members, we would be nothing. It’s truly amazing to see what a difference a group like ours can make, the community spirit is incredible.

“All I can say is thank you to each and every member. I could put an appeal out on the group and I guarantee you it would be sorted the very same day.”

The warm rail is outside Lucy’s house, allowing people to donate their unwanted clothes. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Her most recent ventures have been the introduction of a warm rail outside her mother’s house, offering various items of clothing, including shoes, coats and jumpers, as well as a book library for those who may not be able to afford reading resources.

She also makes comfort packs for children in hospital who have lost a family member, spent Christmas buying toys and wrapping paper for disadvantaged families, even gifting money for food at Happy Culture Cafe and the Lincoln Community Grocery.

I was told a remarkable story about their fundraising efforts to take a child with a life-threatening illness to Disney on Ice, but after their condition worsened they could not leave the house. Most other people would have called it a day there, not Paula.

She brought Disney on Ice to the family, delivering Spiderman costumes, inflatable dinosaurs and all things Disney to the child’s house, witnessing his eyes light with wonder.

Their work is summarised by a simple motto that can be found on the page’s about section, which states: “If we have it, you’re welcome to it.”

Storage is a real issue for Paula, but she’s determined to make a difference. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

All this effort takes its toll, though. Lucy’s house is full of stored donations as far as the eye can see, an entire spare bedroom as well as the garage are filled to the brim with items waiting for a new home; so pending plans to scale up the operations can’t come soon enough.

Paula said: “If I could get storage I’d do it straight away, but these things cost money and we don’t want to take money from the good causes to fund something like that.

“We’ve just bought a shed that will be used as storage, which should help clear some space in mum’s house, I would be absolutely lost without her. We make such a good team.”

Lucy described her daughter as a “maverick taskmaster” but one she couldn’t love more if she tried. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Paula and Lucy are welcoming to all who need their help, remembering the name of each and every person they help through Adi’s Legacy, and often shedding a tear when hearing difficult stories of their local community’s fight for survival during unprecedented economic times.

They are contacted by different families with different troubles every single day, yet welcome as many people as humanly possible with open arms, pledging to help in any way they can.

Paula added: “Since starting the group it has really opened our eyes to just how many people are struggling in our city, and that’s not just homeless people, it’s people with low-paid jobs, people with health conditions, it’s really difficult at the moment.

“I genuinely feel gutted that we can’t help more people but at the moment we simply don’t have the space to accommodate all the requests we get.

“We’ve had to turn away so many donations because of a lack of storage space, so that’s when I decided to give something back to the loyal members of the group. They now post pictures of their items on the group and can arrange collections themselves, it’s brilliant.

“We want people to feel comfortable coming to us, we look after their confidentiality. It doesn’t matter how big the group gets, we never want to lose touch with the people that approach us.”

Paula has big plans in the future, but needs support on her journey to bring joy to people’s lives. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

We asked Paula how Adi would feel about the work being done, and her answer was given with a broad smile and a nod of remembrance.

“He would be so proud. If Adi was around this past Christmas he would’ve been around town in a Santa costume delivering toys to the kids, it was just in his nature.”

I wanted to know how you could define charity work to this extent, a group that doesn’t just focus on a particular set of people, instead seeking resolutions for any and everyone. Lucy helped summarise that with her poignant description of Paula’s work.

“Adi’s Legacy is like a tree, branching off in multiple directions reaching out to as many people as we can. Paula is a hard taskmaster, but I love her to bits. It’s hard not to get emotional when you are so involved, but it’s so rewarding to see that smile on someone’s face.”

A lot was learned during our visit to meet the minds behind Adi’s Legacy, but the thing that stuck out was the dedication of Paula and Lucy. All they want is to see lives improved, and they’re only just getting started.