A dressage rider with a rare progressive neurological disorder is hoping to achieve his dream of competing in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, with a little help from a friend.

Hitchin's Bex Hankin is desperate to help her friend Michael Murphy fulfil his Paris Paralympics dream. Michael was born with a rare condition called Dejerine-Sottas - an inherited neurological condition that gradually affects the ability to move. Michael said he has no reflexes, little sensation, low muscle tone, lack of motor control and a double spinal fusion.

"At a young age, he was recommended to try out horse riding for therapeutic reasons," Bex explained. "He has just returned from the Para World Championships, where he won two bronze medals as part of the Ireland team, and is ranked third in the world for Grade 1 Para Dressage.

"He also earned his place at the Tokyo Paralympics last year, where he smashed out fourth place in the team test."

Michael said: "Being able to ride and feel free when you cannot walk independently, and being able to compete - never mind represent my country - is uplifting.

"My family fought for me to go to mainstream school, working hard on exercise and therapy, including horse riding, from aged four.

"Riding has been a huge part of my life, physically and emotionally, and I have successfully competed at international level since the age of 10.

"It was a privilege to be asked to carry the Olympic torch in 2012 - a day I will never forget."

The Comet: Michael has successfully competed at international level since he was 10 years oldMichael has successfully competed at international level since he was 10 years old (Image: Go Fund Me)

Michael now has his sights firmly set on the Paralympics in 2024, where Bex says "there is no doubt he has the potential to win a life-changing medal".

However, Bex added: "His opportunity to do this is currently limited due to a lack of sufficient funding. He is 90 per cent self-funded, and one year costs £80k to keep his horses, attend competitions, rent horse boxes, and pay for his support and trainer etcetera."

On Saturday, Bex did a skydive to raise money towards helping Michael keep his hopes of competing in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games alive.

If you would like to donate to the cause, visit gofundme.com/f/michael-murphy-dressage-dreams.

For more about Michael, visit michaelmurphy.org.uk.