Champion Louis

AWARD CEREMONY: Sasha Mattus from Build-A-Bear Workshop, Eleanor Thompson, Lee Mead, Louis Weston and Alex Stafford.

AWARD CEREMONY: Sasha Mattus from Build-A-Bear Workshop, Eleanor Thompson, Lee Mead, Louis Weston and Alex Stafford.

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LOUIS Weston may not have had the best start in life, writes EMMA HARRIS.

But now the nine-year-old, from Thornton, has scooped a top award from baby charity Tommy’s.

Louis was born 16 weeks premature and weighed a tiny 1lb 9oz.

During the first few weeks of his life, he struggled with numerous infections, blood transfusions, two pulmonary haemorrhages and a brain haemorrhage.

He also had a cleft lip and palate which made placing the ventilator very difficult.

His mum Angela and dad Stuart were told several times his outlook was not good.

Louis battled on and slowly started to put on weight and, after months in hospital, was finally allowed home.

The Baines Endowed pupil has since had two operations and is currently awaiting surgery.

His tale of survival so impressed the judges in the Tommy’s Let’s Get Baby Friendly Awards, it was decided he should receive the Champion Children Award.

The award recognises children who were born prematurely and – after a difficult start in life – pulled through and survived against the odds.

Proud mum Angela said: “We were really excited and overwhelmed to hear the news Louis had won a Champion Children Award.

“Most people will never know how close Louis came to death and the risk of disability.

“Those first few weeks of his life were a very difficult time. Obviously, there was the possibility he might not survive.

“He had to have to many treatments over those first few weeks.

“But he was allowed home and ever since then he has just been fantastic.

“He is healthy and happy.

“He loves things like gadgets and Top Gear and the computer – real boys’ things.”

Louis was presented with his award at a star-studded ceremony at the Langham Hotel in London, by West End star, singer and father-of-one Lee Mead.

Angela said it was a big day for all the family.

“I don’t think he really understands why he has been given an award.

“He knows he was poorly when he was younger, but I don’t think he realises yet how serious it was.

“We’ve shown him photos of when he was in hospital and kept a sleepsuit he had when he was seven weeks old, which is tiny but was huge on him.

“It’s been exciting for him. We had watched Any Dream Will Do with Lee Mead when it was on TV.

“And he was recently given the headteacher’s award at school, too.

“The award feels a bit like Louis is being acknowledged for something we feel everyday – that it’s an amazing achievement Louis is here and fantastic he is healthy and doing so well.

“I hope Louis shows everyone that a fighting spirit can overcome incredible odds. We are so proud of him.”