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Billy swims with his Paralympic heroes

Nine year-old Billy Hodge, who shot to fame after his homework project was posted on YouTube, met two of his sporting heroes at Leominster Leisure Centre last month.

Billy, who suffers from hemiplegia, a neurological condition that affects one side of the body, recently made a splash with Paralympic swimming heroes Sascha and Nyree Kindred.

Billy created his YouTube hit as part of a homework project with the help of UK charity HemiHelp, who provide support for children with hemiplegia and their families.

The young sports fan explains to the camera that he would like to compete in the 2020 Paralympic Games when he is 18 years old and goes on to demonstrate some of the sports that he might like to compete in, including swimming, athletics, archery, cycling, equestrian, judo, football, rowing and shooting.

Billy currently attends swimming lessons in his hometown in Lancashire and his parents are keen to provide support and encouragement whichever sport he chooses.

Mum, Heather Hodge said, “Billy has always loved sport and we’ve always encouraged him to get involved as it is really good therapy for him. Like every nine year old boy he loves to swim and play football.

“There are a lot of good role models in sport which is really good for Billy, as it gives him someone to look up to.”

Sascha and Nyree Kindred are just two of these role models and they were keen to share their tips for success when they met with Billy in Leominster. Joined by his sister, Anna, Billy enjoyed a swimming master class led by the Paralympic champions.

Sascha, who suffers from the same condition as Billy and was recently named patron of Hemichat, a Facebook-based charity group that the family are involved with, said, “I’m really happy to help inspire Billy into the water.” Kindred said, “I loved his YouTube video and I hope he achieves his goal of one day winning Paralympic gold.

“Swimming is a fantastic activity and is something that anyone of any level can take part in. It has meant so much to me and it really changed my life. It means a lot to all of us that kids like Billy are inspired by our achievements at the Paralympics and I know that their cheering will keep us going at the Games.”

Billy said, “I loved swimming with Sascha and Nyree, they were very nice to me. I learnt a lot and I love my t-shirt and calendar. I’ll definitely be cheering both Sascha and Nyree on at the Paralympic Games!”

For more information about disability swimming click here or to view Billy’s YouTube video click here.

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