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When footage emerged of Paul Marshallsea wrestling with a shark to keep toddlers safe on an Australian beach, his bravery won global praise and admiration.
But his seaside heroics failed to impress some back home - namely his employers.
At the time, Mr Marshallsea, 62, was signed off from his job at a children’s charity due to stress and had taken a two-month break in the sunshine with his wife.
However, after seeing the video of him grappling with the 6ft dusky whaler shark, his bosses have terminated his employment due to a “breakdown of trust”.
He was informed of his sacking in a letter, which read: “Whilst unfit to work you were well enough to travel to Australia and, according to recent news footage of yourself in Queensland, you allegedly grabbed a shark by the tail and narrowly missed being bitten by quickly jumping out of the way.
It continued: “The breakdown of the trustees’ confidence and trust in you and your ability to perform the role is so great that we find that dismissal is the only course of action we can recommend.”
Mr Marshallsea, from Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, now fears he will struggle to find a new job. He said: “What am I going to do now? There’s not much call for shark-wrestlers in Merthyr Tydfil.”
He and his wife Wendy, 56, who has also been sacked, were both given extended sick leave by the Pant & Dowlais Boys and Girls Club where they have worked for ten years.
He said the charity had become so successful that he and Wendy, a senior youth worker, were working seven-days a week and “burned out”. They say they were simply following medical advice by going to Australia.
The couple were on Bulcock Beach when a fin was spotted in the water. Hearing cries of “Shark!”, Mr Marshallsea ran into the waves and pulled the shark away.
A TV crew nearby filmed the incident, which was shown around the world. Yesterday the grandfather said: “If I hadn’t gone in to save the kids on that beach that day my wife and I would still have a job… to sack us both without any sort of discussions first is just disgusting.”
Mr Marshallsea, who earned £18 000 and his wife, who was on £12 000, said they will not be taking legal action against their employer.
The trustees for the club were unavailable for comment on Tuesday. - Daily Mail