TOKYO Paralympics hopeful Suzanna Hext will be off to a good start in her races thanks to a Swindon schoolboy and his grandad.

The swimmer can't hear the starter signal so Oliver Phipps, 11, has made a strobe light instead.

The Deanery School pupil and his grandad Rob Hart worked on the project together.

He told the Adver: “She’s some sort of superhero, she’s so nice and a strong person. I love building and breaking things, so I was excited when my grandad agreed to me helping build the strobe light.

“I don’t have the words to put it in, but I’m so happy I helped someone who might be going into the Paralympics, it’s pretty cool.

“We’re already working on a second model, and I’d like to help others in the way I’ve helped Suzanna.”

The athlete was badly injured in a fall while riding a young horse at Marston Meysey.

She was totally wheelchair bound for two years, but got back in the saddle and competed in the European Para Championships in dressage four years ago.

The 32-year-old from Cirencester started competitive swimming in 2019 and won silver and bronze medals at the World Para Swimming Championships.

She trains in Swindon with Dean Fouracre.

She said: “Having the strobe light has already made a huge difference to maximising my dive practice.

"Without the strobe, I have to lip-read starting orders in training, which doesn’t replicate what I have to do in competition under pressure.

She added: "I’m hugely grateful to Oliver and Rob for putting together this device. This will benefit not just me but other swimmers at the club.”

Dean and Rob, who works for Timing Solutions, which provides timing services for worldwide sporting events, went swimming together as children.

Rob said: “I told Dean I would help, I could make it, and my grandson heard about what I was doing and offered his help.

“There’s a flashing beacon which alerts Suzanna to start swimming, and there’s a fob to operate it, and a battery inside the box to make it work.

“It’s great we’ve been able to do this together and help in some way.

"It’s brilliant, I’m very proud of Oliver for wanting to get involved and he was over the moon about it.”

Dean told the Adver the strobe starter had already made a huge difference to Suzanna.