GIVE Them Wings, an upcoming film about the struggle of Quakers fan whose battle with meningitis as a child left him disabled, has finished production and began down the Oscar path.

The movie, which is undergoing final edits, follows the story of wheelchair-user Paul Hodgson who "was told he would only live to five but is now 55" and has been sent to Venice Film Festival – an Oscar qualifier.

Give Them Wings has been accepted but not yet selected, though the team will know in the coming weeks.

Darlington man Mr Hodgson, who helped write the screenplay with director Sean Cronin, was diagnosed with childhood meningitis at ten-months-old, his parents were told he would never move or speak.

Mr Cronin said: "Paul is severely disabled and should be dead. This is the kind of real human interest film that hits a beat. The fact that Paul is still alive is nothing short of incredible, and he's just so positive.

"One of the first times we met, he said to me, Sean, I can't move much of my body, but I can hold a pint."

The story of his childhood struggles with the disease, wihch looks at life as a disabled person, filmmaker and Darlington football fan, has attracted a cast including Toyah Willcox and film newcomer but previous Byker Grove actor Daniel Watson, who plays Mr Hodgson.

Now, the low-budget film which was seven-years in the making and relied on a crowdfunding campaign, is on the Oscar trial, hoping to be shown major film festivals and "navigate the narrow corridor" to the Oscars.

Mr Hodgson, who thanked his wife Jennifer for her great support, said: "It has always been my dream to make it and I am really proud that we managed to but I never doubted that we wouldn't – but there is no I in team and it's been a massive team effort.

"I'm not just saying it because it's my film but it is so good.

"I've been trying to get this down for 20 years. It's been a long and hard road but now I've been asked to work with others on project so it's opened a lot of doors for me."

The man, known as Flipper to his fellow football supporters, praised the film's crew and cast.

Give Them Wings 2 has also already been written, with the man adding: "I just hope people like it enough for there to be a sequel. The second one is already written, which is based around a car crash in 2015. Fingers crossed."