Ashley Gover, the Trowbridge schoolboy battling a rare eye condition that threatened to rob him of his sight, is showing a marked improvement.

The 12-year-old does not need his stick any more to walk to John of Gaunt School and has started to play football again.

Ashley was diagnosed with Lebers Optic Neuropathy last summer, weeks before starting secondary school in September.

He had to adapt very quickly; using a white stick to walk to school, learning braille and having one-to-one sessions in his classes.

But recent tests at Moorfields Eye Hospital in central London have shown a significant improvement to his eyesight and he has stopped using the tools that were once so vital.

He said: “The blobs in my eyes have spread out and it is easier for me to see.

“I don’t use my stick any more and don’t do braille. I am more involved in class and have started to play football again.”

His mum, Louise Gover, 35, of Francis Street, said: “It appears Ashley’s sight has improved in the last six weeks. Whenever I queried it, people said he was adapting but I wasn’t convinced.”

Mrs Gover and her husband Daniel sought the opinion of Professor Anthony Moore at Moorfields, an expert in the rare contition.

Mum-of-three Mrs Gover said: “He said the results were a massive improvement from the last photo of the optic nerve taken several weeks ago. Some of the cells which were not functioning are now working.”

Mrs Gover, deputy manager at Staverton House, said: “The first thing Ashley asked was ‘will I drive a car when I am a man?’ but he won’t be able to.

"He will never have 100 per cent vision, is still colour blind and finds tracking difficult.

“I was worried it wasn’t going to be a permanent improvement. Professor Moore said ‘never say never in medicine’ but he said it was unlikely Ashley’s condition would go back again.

“This is the first bit of good news we have had in a year. It is lovely to see Ashley being more social and independent.”