Terri awarded for her bravery

A BRAVE young girl who nearly died from horrific injuries sustained in a fire when she was a toddler will be honoured tonightas the most courageous child in the country.

A BRAVE young girl who nearly died from horrific injuries sustained in a fire when she was a toddler will be honoured tonightas the most courageous child in the country.

Terri Calvesbert will receive the Child of Courage award at the Daily Mirror's Pride of Britain Awards 2004 in a star-studded ceremony at London's Hilton Hotel.

The seven-year-old from Ipswich will be honoured by Prince Charles and Prime Minister Tony Blair as one of the nation's unsung heroes.

She was two years old in 1998 when she was burned during a fire at her ground floor flat in Ipswich, which was started accidentally by a cigarette.


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Her mother Julie was plagued by guilt after the fire, despite being told it was an accident, and she divorced Terri's father Paul a year later. They have not heard from her since.

Firefighters who arrived initially thought the tiny tot was a charred doll. Up to 90% of Terri's body was covered in agonising burns with only the area covered by her wet nappy being spared.

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Terri was left with no hair, lips, nose or fingers and one foot. She will need surgery for the rest of her life.

Terri has had 16 operations in the last 3 years and will have operations every year for the rest of her life. But she has not let that stop her lead as normal a life as possible and started school three years ago.

Her moving story touched the nation when she appeared on ITV's This Morning show with Fern Britton and Phillip Scofield and featured in a one-hour documentary, "Being Terri", aired on ITV last June.

Mr Calvesbert gave up his job to become his daughter's full-time carer and the pair have battled on together. She had to have an operation every other day after the fire and in the last four years she has had 16 major operations.

Mr Calvesbert said: "She inspires me every day, I'm so proud of her and the fact that people nominated her means she's touched other peoples' hearts too. She just opens everybody's eyes up."

The Pride of Britain judges, who include Sir Richard Branson, Gary Lineker and Carol Vorderman, said: "Terri's is a true story of an indomitable human spirit. Despite her heart-breaking injuries Terri's fantastic, sparkling, unquenchable spirit comes shining through so brightly."

Prime Minster Tony Blair said: "Everyone who hears the stories of the award winners will be humbled by their remarkable courage, sacrifice, and commitment - and they will marvel at their modesty."

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