Royal boost for 2012 gold medal hopeful as Queen marks disabled car milestone

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A paralympian hoping for gold at London 2012 received a boost yesterday – the keys to the three millionth car provided by disability organisation Motability.

The Queen made the official presentation to David Smith, one of the world’s leading boccia players – a sport similar to crown green bowls.

The monarch is chief patron of Motability, which runs a scheme that allows disabled people to lease a car, powered wheelchair or scooter using Government-funded mobility allowances.

Mr Smith, an aerospace engineering degree student, from Eastleigh, Hampshire, received his Volkswagen Caddy in June.

The 22-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, said: “This is my second car but this time, instead of riding in the back, this has been adapted so I can drive it.

“I’m getting lessons from Motability so potentially I will soon have the option of driving myself around – freedom.”

The presentation was made in Westminster Hall and featured six other paralympians who were all officially presented with the keys to their new vehicles.

In a written message, the Queen praised the efforts of the organisation which launched its scheme in 1978.

“During this time Motability has changed and enriched the lives of thousands of disabled people and their families by helping them to access a world of increased mobility and freedom.”