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Welshman Paul Marshallsea who wrestled a shark to save children on an Australian beach wins compensation for being sacked

By Rarken  |  Posted: March 12, 2014

By Paul Turner / paul.turner@swwmedia.co.uk / @readmybook

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A HEROIC Welsh holidaymaker who wrestled a shark to save toddlers on an Australian beach won compensation today - for being sacked when he returned home.

Paul Marshallsea, 62, became a celebrity in Australia after being filmed wading into the shallows to grab the 6ft dusky whaler shark by the tail.

But his bosses back home saw news reports of his heroics - and fired him because he was on sick leave from his job running a charity youth club.

Mr Marshallsea sued the Pant and Dowlais Boys and Girls Club in Merthyr Tydfil for unfair dismissal from his £18,000-a-year job.

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An employment tribunal in Cardiff heard both parties had thrashed out an agreement - and Mr Marshallsea agreed to an out-of-court confidential settlement.

Heroic Mr Marshallsea was stunned when he returned home from Queensland to Merthyr Tydfil where a letter of dismissal was waiting for him.

It said: "Whilst unfit to work you were well enough to travel to Australia where you allegedly grabbed a shark by the tail and narrowly missed being bitten by quickly jumping out of the way.

"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."

Both parties now have two weeks to agree financial compensation for the shark-wrestling grandfather.

Mr Marshallsea and his wife Wendy, 56, who was also sacked, went on holiday to Australia after both suffering from stress while working at the award-winning club.

The couple were having a barbecue on Bulcock Beach in Queensland when a fin was spotted in the water.

After 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.

And the video of Mr Marshallsea grabbing the vicious shark by the tail has been viewed almost half a million times on YouTube.

But after being sacked from his £18,000-a-year job Mr Marshallsea said: "What am I going to do now? There’s not much call for shark-wrestlers in Merthyr Tydfil.

"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 told how he was left furious after his heroics were ridiculed when he was sacked.

After the case he said: "I was called the Great White Shirk and I'm furious about the way I've been treated."

The grandfather claimed he was simply following medical advice to tackle his stress by taking a long sunshine holiday to Australia where they have relatives.

The Pant and Dowlais Boys and Girls Club refused to comment after the hearing.

Read more from South Wales Evening Post

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