IT has been a privilege to follow the story of Lyndon Longhorne since he was a little boy.

Meningitis had led to him losing both legs and an arm but the boy from Crook, County Durham, displayed the most incredible courage in excelling in the swimming pool.

Inspired by his grandad, he took his first strokes, and it became an obsession. Hardly a day went by when he didn’t get up at the crack of dawn to train at his local pool, determined to achieve his dream of one day getting to the Paralympics.

In 2009, I watched through misty eyes as he was declared The Northern Echo’s overall Local Hero and was given a standing ovation. Ten years later, on the 20th anniversary of those most special of awards, he was made the Champion of Champions.

Today, I received a text from Lyndon, telling me that he has finally received the news he craved most. “I’ve made the Paralympic team,” he said.

It is the most joyful news because Lyndon has worked so hard to make his dream a reality. He has previously missed out on the Paralympics more than once, but he refused to give up.

During the pandemic, when the swimming pools were locked, he trained in the sea. Imagine the effort just to get there, never mind swimming against the waves to build his strength.

Apart from his athletic achievements, Lyndon is also a lovely, positive, funny, kind human being, and I could not be more proud of him.

Well done, Lyndon Longhorne – Local Hero.