A TEN-year-old boy who nearly died after contracting meningitis is celebrating being called up to represent his country in an international martial arts competition.
Leon Stanbridge, pictured right, from St Leonards, was left almost paralysed after he was struck down by a deadly strain of the virus aged just six months.
He was rushed to Guys Hospital in London where he was placed in intensive care for three weeks.
His parents claim they were told he might never be able to walk again.
But the youngster defied the odds and overcame major obstacles to get back on his feet.
His proud father Mike said: “There was no way I was going to leave that hospital without my boy. And what a boy he turned out to be. We are all just so proud of him.”
Aged seven, Leon took up the traditional Korean discipline of Kuk Sool in Eastbourne and became an instant hit.
Just three years on he is preparing to take part in the European Championships in Kings Lynn, Norfolk in June.
And the Battle and Langton primary schoolboy, who is already a red belt, is tipped for the top.
His mother Claire, 42, said: “Just look at our boy now. He is about to take on the best young European fighters out there and could go a long way in the sport.
“We could never have imagined anything like this 10 years ago.”