A PARALYMPIC hopeful who battled meningitis as a baby is urging people to sign a petition calling for a vaccine against the deadly disease to be available for all children.

Lyndon Longhorne, from Crook in County Durham, is encouraging people to sign a petition asking the government to make a vaccine for Meningitis B available to children of all ages.

The 20-year-old lost both his legs, his right arm and part of his left hand after contracting meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia when he was eight months old.

He is an ambassador for the Meningitis Now and was part of the campaign to get the vaccine on the NHS's childhood immunisation programme, even visiting Downing Street in 2015.

He said: "We campaigned for years to get the meningitis vaccine and when it was included in the programme we were all over the moon. I spent hours getting signatures and saying why we need this to save lives and stop it from destroying families.

“I’m pushing this all I can. I think it’s massively important because it’s not just babies that get meningitis, its all ages.

"Meningitis Now is phenomenal. Over the years they have really supported me so I’ve supported them. I just want to warn people about meningitis and make them aware of the signs and symptoms."

The petition has gained national attention following the death of two-year-old Faye Burdett on February 14.

So far more than 640,000 have added their names, making it the most signed petition on the UK Government website.

The vaccine, which was approved in 2014, has been available on the NHS since September 2015 but is only given to babies born after July 1, 2015.

A global shortage of the vaccine means private clinics are being advised not to start new courses.

Mr Longhorne, who has prosthetic legs and a bionic hand, is in his first year studying sports management at Northumbria University.

He swims with Team Northumbria and is training hard ahead of Paralympic trials in April, where he hopes he will be able to swim fast enough to secure him a place at the games in Rio.

He said: “It’s going really well. I haven’t hit the time I need yet but I’m swimming with a great team. The support team is brilliant.

“If I qualify it will be a big bonus but if I don’t at least I’ve done something.”

To sign the petition visit www//petition.parliament.uk/petitions/108072/