A PARALYMPIAN with an incredible life story has inspired students at a North-East school with the message: “Never give up on your dreams.”

Lyndon Longhorne visited Greenfield Academy, at Newton Aycliffe, to talk to Year 11 students about how he achieved his own dream of competing as a Paralympic swimmer despite losing both legs and one arm after contracting meningitis as a baby.

Lyndon, 27, who hails from Crook, County Durham, holds ten British records in the pool and competed at the Tokyo Paralympics in 2021.

He is now hoping to be selected for the Paralympics in Paris next year, and the County Durham school, which is part of the Advanced Learning Partnership (ALP), has kindly made a financial contribution towards his training costs.

He told the students: “What I’ve learned is that there’s nothing you can’t achieve with the right mindset, determination and discipline to be the best you possibly can.”

Lyndon almost died from meningitis when he was eight months old, and he was only saved after surgeons amputated his right leg above the knee, his left leg below the knee, his right hand, and the fingertips on his left hand.

Despite his disability he excelled in the pool after his grandad taught him to swim, and he focused on training to become a Paralympian.

After failing to make the Great Britain team for the London and Rio games in 2012 and 2016, he considered giving up on his dreams but was inspired to try again after becoming a dad to daughter Aubree, who is now aged five.

The Tokyo games were due to take place in 2020 but were delayed due to Covid and, when the country’s swimming pools were closed during lockdown, Lyndon continued his gruelling training regime in rivers and the sea.

He was selected to compete for Team GB in Tokyo, swimming in eight Paralympic races in 10 days. He achieved his target of reaching a final in the S4 100 metres freestyle and setting a British record.

Lyndon is now training hard for the Paris Paralympics next year, and told the Greenfield Academy pupils how he gets up at 4am, six days a week, to train for two hours before working full time at EE, and often returning to the pool in the evening.

The Paralympian took part in a question-and-answer session, with pupils asking a series of questions about how he’d coped with his challenges, and his hopes for the future.

He told them: “It’s hard at times, but you have MAPS – Mindset, Attitude, Positivity and Strength – to get where you want to be. My aim now is to get in the team for Paris and this time bring home a medal.”

Head of School, Amy Aspland, said: “I had goosebumps listening to Lyndon’s story, and I know the students and staff were inspired by his visit. He’s an amazing person who puts our daily challenges into perspective and shows us all that anything’s possible with the right attitude.”