An Epsom Comet paperboy has done his last round last week after delivering the newspaper every week for eight years.

Matthew Houghton, 20, of Dirdene Gardens, delivered the Epsom Comet, formerly the Epsom Guardian, in his local area despite living with autism and learning difficulties.

Mr Houghton began doing paper rounds with his mum Julie at the age of 12 and carried on doing it independently for the past three years.

Mrs Houghton said: “People in our road really appreciate the delivery and it has made them appreciate my son more.

“He has been able to help people with a bit of gardening or lifting things and also when people have accidentally left their keys in the front door.”

“It’s the community aspect of it. It’s given him respect even though he’s got high level needs.”

She added: “I did a newspaper round when I was younger to get a bit of money and I encourage my older children to get jobs to earn their way a little bit and even though Matthew was limited he could do it.”

Epsom Comet recently moved away from delivering the paper door-to-door, to a new system where copies of the paper are available for free pickup from points across the area, in a step to bring the title’s distribution in line with Newsquest’s current methods.

Surrey Comet editor, Will Harrison, said: “It was a difficult decision to move away from our more traditional method of distributing the paper each week and we are immensely grateful to everyone who has helped deliver our newspapers up until now.

“I am really pleased to hear that delivering the paper each week has been such a positive experience for Matthew and that it has helped him grow his confidence and get out among the community. I wish him all the best of luck in the future.”

Matthew, who studies animal care at Nescot College, is also a classified disabled athlete and runs for the Epsom and Ewell Harriers.

He trains and competes with Special Olympics Surrey and does ice hockey with the special needs club Werewolves of London.