THE mum of Ellesmere Port wheelchair basketball player Billy Bridge has spoken of her pride on the eve of his first game at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

The 26-year-old is part of the Team GB side preparing to take to the court tomorrow (August 26, 6.45am local time) for their opener with Algeria.

His mum Deb Bridge, who lives in Little Sutton, says all the family will be getting together at her home to cheer on the former Stanney High School student who is competing in his first ever Paralympic Games.

She said Billy is "buzzing" about being in Tokyo and is eager to get started.

Deb told The Standard: "We always knew he would get there – it was only a matter of time. He's committed so much to the sport. He loves it.

"We were all overjoyed when he got the call up. We're a big, close-knit family and we're all so proud of him.

"We will all be around here to watch him. It might be early in the morning but we'll all be together and cheering him on.

"He may not be able to hear us but he knows how supportive we all are. We've followed him up and down the country!

Wirral Globe:

"I'll be nervous but watching Billy play is just the most amazing feeling – it's the ultimate.

"I've spoken to him and he said he's buzzing about being there. I'm sure the nerves will kick in but he just can't wait for it to start now."

Seeing Billy head off to Tokyo to represent Team GB – having been a flagbearer at the London 2012 Paralympic Games opening ceremony when he was a teenager – has got Deb looking back on her son's remarkable journey to the top.

"He'll always be a Paralympian now", she said, proudly. "It's quite bizarre because he was part of 2012 as a flagbearer and now he's involved in it.

"He's been through quite the journey. Billy was born with spina bifida. There's been tough times. I'm proud of all my kids but Billy has had to overcome some difficult times, medically and emotionally.

Wirral Globe:

"He's charismatic and very intelligent. When he was 12 I took him to his first session at the Celtic Warriors in Wrexham where (head coach at Cheshire Phoenix Wheelchair Basketball Club and former GB Paralympian) Anna Jackson was.

"Straight away he took to it – he was a natural. I remember watching him and thinking 'wow'. I often think about that day and where he is now. He's come a long way."

Billy enjoyed a successful junior career and has gone on to play for clubs in England, Italy, Germany and Spain at senior level.

  • Cheshire Phoenix Wheelchair Basketball Club is holding an 'Inspire A Generation' event at Ellesmere Port Sports Village on Saturday, September 4 from 4-5pm. Places must be booked in advance by contacting or calling 07711 356541.