A HERO janitor who saved his school in Port Glasgow from burning down twice has tragically died at the age of just 50.

Greenock Telegraph: Hero janitor Paul Fulton with head teacher Lauren O'Hagan in Tele

Tributes have poured in for Paul Fulton, who'd served Newark Primary since it opened 16 years ago, following his sudden death at home on January 3.

Devoted dad Paul was hailed in the Tele two years ago when he rushed to the school at night after vandals had sparked a blaze by setting tyres alight close to the building for the second time that summer.

His devastated fiancee, Claire Rorrison, says she has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of grief for the devoted family man, who was the 'love of her life'. The couple had only recently started planning for their wedding.

Much-loved dad-of-two Paul battled two life-threatening heart conditions. He had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and long QT syndrome, which causes sudden cardiac arrests.

The keen runner recently completed a half marathon to raise money for a cancer charity in memory of his dad.

Greenock Telegraph: Paul Fulton

Claire, 42, who lived with Paul in Mid Avenue, said: "Paul was always happy, he always had a big smile on his face and he would do anything for anyone.

"That is how he will be remembered by everyone who knew him. He was so kind, so caring and would help anyone.

"That night the school was on fire, he just jumped straight up and away he went.

"You couldn't go anywhere in the Port without the kids stopping to talk to him and his dog Skye.

"He was so hard-working and devoted to his job. Whenever he had to do something at school, he would always say, 'if I don't, my kids miss out! I can't let them down'."

The Tele spoke to Paul in September 2022 after he dashed to the school after the firestarting vandals struck. Paul grabbed a fire extinguisher and put out the flames himself, for the second time that summer. 

The school's head teacher Lauren O'Hagan said: "Paul had been a part of our Newark family since the school opened in 2008 and played such an important role in all our lives.

"He was the hardest-working, kindest soul who took such pride in his job. There was no task too big for Paul, he went out of his way to help everyone, every single day.

"Our whole school community will miss him terribly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this most difficult time."

Paul took part in the Kilmacolm half marathon last year and then the Great Scottish Run with his brother in October in memory of his dad Tommy, who'd passed away from cancer earlier in the year.

Claire added: "Paul was always healthy, running and cycling was a huge part of his life and he did the Greenock Parkrun every Saturday.

"He lost his dad in May and together with his brother Gary they ran a half marathon for the hospice that cared for him, raising £1,000.

"He was devoted to his family and he lived for his three grandchildren. They were his life."

Paul was a such a key part of the school community at Newark that he always went on the annual residential trip with the P7 class.

Claire said: "He loved it more than the kids."

The couple have been together for six years and Claire told how they had been looking to the future and were all set to get organised for their wedding.

Hairdresser Claire said: "One of the last things he said to me the night before was to tell me to book our wedding, we were getting married next year.

"We'd got engaged at Christmas 2022 and we were so happy, I couldn't wait to spend the rest of my life with Paul.

"I just can't believe he is gone. The whole family is devastated.

"He had got up for work about half five like any other day. His work clothes were there ready to go, he had his lunch made."

Greenock Telegraph: Paul with all his family

Paul, who was married previously, was devoted to his daughter Stephenie, 31, son Jamie, 22, and his three grandchildren, Sophie, eight, Ellie, seven, and Brodie, five months.

He was also loved by Claire's children Sophie, 21, and Lewis, 18.

A big Celtic fan, Paul was a much loved brother to siblings Martha, Thomas, Brian, Gary, Martin and Jason.

He worked with Inverclyde Council for 24 years in total.

His friends at the Greenock Parkrun joined together with his family to remember him on Saturday at the weekly 5k.

Paul's funeral will take place on Friday at the Woodside Crematorium at 10am, with those attending asked to wear green.