AN inspirational young man who until recently used a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy has become a boxing coach.

Bart Szymczyk, 21, from Clifton, nearly died when he was born prematurely and weighing little more than 1lb.

Diagnosed with the neurological condition cerebral palsy, which can affect balance and mobility, Bart has undergone leg operations to help with his walking.

His key worker put him in touch with coach Andrew 'Rocky' Miller at the Community Spirit Boxing Club in York RI club in Acomb when he told of how keen he was to start boxing.

Bart has now volunteered there for more than a year, helping to lead the children's classes, and since he began training at the club his mobility has been so improved he no longer uses a wheelchair.

He said: "I like to help people. I'm just enjoying everything to do with boxing.

"Somebody said to me, how can you be happy if you are disabled? I don't listen to them and I don't care if someone says I can't do it. I just continue.

"It doesn't matter if you are disabled you should just do what you want to do.

"I'm now a coach in Rocky's club and I have good friends. Everyone accepts me and I'm not bothered about my condition."

Bart has gone from strength to strength with the club - where he helps out four days a week - and now hopes to set up a disabled boxing club.

He volunteers at Energise gym in Acomb, where he also exercises and has learned to climb, and it is hoped next year that he may be able to take part in a gym instructor course with the training organisation Aspire.

Rocky said: "He has come on a long way. We just need his confidence up a little bit more and to get him in work."

Bart and his key worker Jez Scott have made a film about his experiences: