A miracle girl born as Britain’s smallest baby has celebrated her tenth birthday – by being made captain of her school FOOTBALL team.
Aaliyah Hart was just seven inches (17cm) long and weighed 12 oz when she was born three months prematurely in 2003.
Doctors gave the tot – who was the same size as a MOBILE PHONE – a one per cent chance of survival when they found her lungs had not developed properly.
But after spending a week in an incubator, fighting Aaliyah – who was small enough to sit in the palm of her mother’s hand – astounded medics and went on to survive.
When she started school five years ago anxious mum Lorriane, 47, was nervous she would be knocked over in the playground -as 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 4 ft (48in) and weighing 4 stone (56lbs).
Amazingly, sporty Aaliyah now loves nothing more than playing football against a team of BOYS.
Four weeks ago was even crowned captain of the girl’s football team at the independent Rosslyn School in Hall Green, Birmingham.
Yesterday (Wed) proud mum Lorraine, 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.
“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 Lorraine 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.”