BRITAIN'S tallest man and former Harlem Globetrotter basketball star Paul Sturgess was in Dorset this week, hoping to inspire youngsters at a Christchurch school.

Paul, who at 7ft 7ins was also the tallest professional basketball player in the world, spent the day at Somerford Junior School as part of one of his 'Basketball Wow Days'.

The athlete has teamed up with friend Mark Waters to deliver the school programme, which has gone from strength-to-strength since starting in Loughborough and the Nottinghamshire area four years ago.

Paul, aged 30, told the Echo: "We usually do three or four schools a week, all across the county.

"We try to spread positive messages and have lots of fun.

"Basketball is a little bit different for the kids as well, they probably don't get to do a lot of it.

"It is nice to get them involved in something different."

After a morning assembly, featuring talks from Paul and Mark - and video clips of some stunning basketball moves - the youngsters get the chance to try their hand at a range of basketball skills. They were coached on dribbling, ball handling, passing and shooting

Even the teachers got the chance to show off their skills.

Mark first crossed paths with Paul in 2009, two years before Paul set off to the United States to play in the world famous Harlem Globetrotters team.

They both had spoken about wanting to work in an inspirational roll with children, so kept in touch.

Now they operate the 'Basketball Wow Days' across the country

"We started in the Nottinghamshire area in May 2014, then we set up the East Leake Globetrotters club," said Mark. "Mini Basketball England heard about us and started promoting us in Nottinghamshire, and it grew from there really.

"Obviously Paul is an attraction, but the day is more about wowing and inspiring the children with positive messages.

"Messages include looking after your body, eating healthily, about trying different things while at school and identifying what your talents and gifts are.

"We leave them with a quote from the video that they watch, which is 'first in the gym, last out the gym'.

Paul also speaks about how he is different.

Mark explained: "People will stop and look at him in the street, but he has never been ashamed he is different.

"He has embraced that difference, and that is an important message for the children.

"Paul's positive attitude has opened up doors to allow him to travel the world."