10 Jul 2013

Gossip: Britain's smallest ever baby who was given just a 1% chance of survival celebrates her 10th birthday

A girl born as Britain's smallest baby ever has celebrated her tenth birthday by being made captain of her school football team.

Aaliyah Hart was just seven inches long and weighed 12oz when she was born three months prematurely in 2003.

Doctors gave her a one per cent chance of survival when they found that her lungs had not developed properly.

But Aaliyah - who was small enough to sit in the palm of her mother's hand - astounded medics by surviving.

When she started school five years ago her mother, Lorriane, 47, was nervous she would be knocked over in the playground because she only weighed the same as a two year old.

But the youngster has since grown into a healthy schoolgirl and is now a similar size to her classmates - standing at 4ft and weighing 4 stone.

Amazingly, sporty Aaliyah now loves nothing more than playing football against a team of boys and has been named captain of the girl's football team at the independent Rosslyn School in Hall Green, Birmingham.

Ms Hart, who was told her daughter might die in the womb, said she was amazed at how Aaliyah had taken to sports.

She said: ‘Aaliyah's a little tomboy - she loves playing with the boys and she's developed a really sporty side recently.

She's very good at running, she likes rounders and gymnastics.

‘Over the last six weeks she's really got into her football and has been made captain of the girls' team.

‘It's 50/50 at her school so they usually have the girls against the boys.

‘The social side really appeals to her, everybody loves Aaliyah.’

She added: ‘It's just nice to see her doing normal things, getting involved and jumping around, happy with a smile on her face.

And to see the other kids running towards her at the end of a game and all the teamwork that goes on is great.

‘When she was born ten years ago I didn't imagine she'd be running around a football pitch.

‘She's defied the odds to even be here today let alone captaining a girl's footy team.’

Social worker Ms Hart added that Aaliyah - who turned ten last month - had moved from a state to an independent school in 2009 to help her schoolwork and build her confidence.

She added: ‘As she was always smaller than her friends her confidence had suffered.

‘But it's much better than it used to be now - she's the same size as her classmates, although she's quite thin.

She's been given lots of responsibilities at school such as milk monitor, it allows her to assert herself.

‘She really has come a long way - it's been one hell of a journey.’

Aaliyah said she enjoyed getting a chance to play football with friends and her idol was Wayne Rooney.

She said: ‘I really like playing football, it's a lot of fun playing with my friends.

‘Being the captain makes me feel very proud. I like school but I really love sports.

‘I know I'm a bit smaller but I try not to let it make a difference.

‘My favourite team is Manchester United, I really like Wayne Rooney.’

Headteacher Jane Scott said Aaliyah was showing good progress at school and was delighted to see her playing football.
She said: ‘She really is holding her own and it's wonderful to see.

‘She is progressing well academically and is a very popular little girl. She is full of confidence and has a wonderful character.

‘To see where she has come from to playing football with the boys in the playground is an incredible story considering she was only given such a slim chance of survival.’

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