A FOUR-year-old boy from Upper Gornal who spent his first months battling for life has won a prestigious award.

Mason Checketts was given just a 50 per cent chance of survival after being born three months early weighing just 1lb 10oz.

During his first 13 weeks Mason was treated at Russells Hall Hospital and New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, he needed four blood transfusions and suffered a number of complications including a slow heart rate and severe breathing problems.

He also suffered a bleed on his brain which caused a form of cerebral palsy affecting the left side of his body and left medics warning he may never walk or talk.

To mark his amazing recovery he was presented with a Tommy’s and Build-A-Bear Workshop Champion Children Award at a ceremony in London on March 21.

His proud mum Natalie Checketts said: “When I found out I was having Mason at 25 weeks I honestly didn’t think he’d survive. There was lots of ups and downs and he’d take one step forward, and something else would come and knock him three steps back. Mason is a very determined little boy who doesn’t give up on anything.

“He walks, he runs, he swims, and it may have been harder for him to get there than other children, but he’s done it and he’s done it with a smile on his face.

“We nominated Mason for the Tommy’s Award because he is also determined to make a difference to children like himself, and he has already run a children’s mini-marathon for charity.”

His father Andy added: “When Mason was born he was a tiny baby but when I heard that first squeak, I knew he was going to be a fighter. The day Mason came home was my 30th birthday and it was the best birthday present I could have asked for.”

Every year one in four mums-to-be in the UK loses a baby through complications causing miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth, and another 60,000 babies will be born too soon.

Tommy’s fund medical research into the prevention of complications and provides advice and treatment as well as a free telephone helpline called PregnancyLine.