A PARALYMPIC champion is to visit a Hampshire launch day to promote disabilities within sport.

European and World Boccia Champion, David Smith MBE, is to make a special guest appearance at ActiveNation's Special Olympics Solent Competitive Boccia Club in Eastleigh.

The launch day, on February 12, will take place at The Hub on Bishopstoke Road and will provide an opportunity to raise awareness for within the Active Communities Team.

Nick Coe, communications coordinator for ActiveNation, said: "The Launch Day is an opportunity to raise awareness for one of our many missions within the Active Communities Team, powered by Active Nation Southampton, to promote inclusive, competitive sport to those with learning difficulties and to help nurture and produce a Boccia team that will represent our community at the next GB Special Olympics Games."

The launch day will see the Paralympic gold medalist showcase some of his skills to keen Boccia players from within the community, as well as showing new players how to take part in the game.

David was born with two club feet and had repeated surgery as a baby and toddler to reset them.

In 2010, he qualified as a Paralympian and set his hopes on competing in the London 2012 Paralympics but was soon diagnosed with a large tumour in his neck.

Surgery to remove the tumour left him paralysed his spine was rebuilt with cages and bolts.

By 2011, he finished first at the 2011 World Rowing Championships, followed by Olympic gold in London a year later.

The tumour returned in 2016 and further surgery left David severely paralysed when he was told he would need to adjust to life in a wheel chair.

After 5 months in hospital and over a year of rehab, David made it back onto a bike and into competing.

ActiveNation have been hosting Boccia sessions to those with physical and learning difficulties for the past few years, and the company now feel that it is time to "introduce a competitive edge to the sport".

Boccia is a ball-based sport played by athletes with sever physical disabilities.

It was originally designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy but now includes athletes with other severe disabilities affecting motor skills.

The new Competitive Boccia Club sessions will begin on February 18 and run every week at The Hub from 10.30am-11.30am.