Personal Trainer’s Two-Part Autobiography Exposes Shocking “Hidden Side” of UK Children’s Care Homes

‘Against All Odds’ and ‘Beating the Odds’, both by Paul Connolly, unravels the author’s tumultuous life, from being abandoned when he was two weeks old, to suffering harrowing abuse at St. Leonard’s Children’s Home in East London, through to his new life as celebrity fitness trainer. Hailed “brutal and revealing” by critics, Connolly’s amazing life story is a bold reminder that the strength of the human spirit will always trump adversity.

While his work as a celebrity fitness trainer has seen him partner with the likes of Chantelle Houghton and Elle Macpherson, Paul Connolly’s early life was nothing but a horrific tragedy. He was abandoned at birth and, like so many of his peers, was subject to daily mental and sexual abuse at the hands of the UK childcare system.

In short, Connolly has a truly amazing story to tell, now being made public in his two-part autobiography. ‘Against All Odds’ and ‘Beating the Odds’ are not sob stories – but incredibly uplifting displays of true brevity and tenacity.


‘Against All Odds’ – When two police officers arrived out of the blue at Paul Connolly’s door, he learned the shocking news that, out of the 8 boys with whom he had shared a dormitory in care, only two were still alive. The revelation unearthed painful memories of a childhood that, until this point, Paul had tried desperately to put behind him. Abandoned there at two weeks old, Paul came of age in the infamous St. Leonard’s Children’s Home in East London. The children there were routinely abused, often over the course of many years. All were underfed, unloved, and told that they would amount to nothing. Angry and frustrated, Paul channeled his rage into boxing—but when an accident shattered his ambition to turn professional, he found his true calling and became a successful trainer, even working as a consultant on Elle Macpherson’s The Body video. Paul has finally found peace and fulfillment beyond anything he could have imagined all those years ago. He now helps to heal broken bodies, build confidence, and transform lives—but he will never forget his past and the unnecessary victims of a broken society.


‘Beating the Odds’ – As Paul Connolly struggled to leave behind his painful, humiliating childhood in the notorious St. Leonard’s children’s home, the ghosts of his past would not let go. The paedophiles and sadists had damaged so many kids. Some had died, from suicide or heroin. Others, like Paul, had emerged, battered and illiterate, to try to find a place in the world. When a fall from a roof shattered his boxing ambitions, he survived in a brutal underworld of routine violence, before eventually building a career as a celebrity fitness trainer, working with the stars of fashion and film. After Against All Odds became a surprise bestseller, everything changed for Paul. He found himself speaking at the House of Lords, appearing on TV and getting involved in projects with abused kids and illiterate adults. But a rare heart infection almost killed him, and the old demons still haunted him. Four years later, Paul has made a new world for himself, centered on his young family and a successful training business that mends broken bodies, builds confidence, and changes lives for the better.


“I wrote these books to show just how innocent children like me were forced to develop strong survival skills from the age of just two or three,” explains Connolly. “We were all told we were worthless dirt who would amount to nothing in life. Just look at me now; I’ve got the job I have always dreamed of and a family I could never have imagined being blessed with.”

Continuing, “I want my readers to learn to love life, chase opportunities and embrace the future, whatever their starting block looked like. I’m living proof that people with the worst foundations in life can amount to relative greatness. If I can do it, anyone can!”

Readers agree that both volumes are life-changing. Susan McCabe comments, “This book is a must read…especially if you want to understand how a person CAN overcome even the most horrid upbringing. Against All Odds tells a story of one man’s journey…left as a young child in what should have been a safe place…to be abused physically and mentally, and to be able to rise above it all and become the man he is today.”

Laureen Francis adds, “Just like Paul Connolly’s first book, “Against All Odds”, this follow-up book, “Beating The Odds”, is well written and explains a lot about how it is possible for a person to cope, survive, and thrive after enduring extreme abuse in childhood. I like that this book includes an up to date summary of what Paul has already accomplished, and is continuing to pursue in his endeavours as an adult”

Paul Connolly has raised over £200,000 for the children’s reading charity ‘Beanstalk’.

He is currently in discussions with two major TV production companies with a view to bringing his incredible life story to film.

Both volumes of the books are available now:
‘Against All Odds’ –
‘Beating the Odds’ –

For more information, visit the author’s official website:

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