MIRACLE baby Lydia Rankin will celebrate her first year helping children like her who have had a harrowing start to life.

Lydia was born with a rare brain disorder and Hydrocephalus - fluid on the brain.

Her doting mum, Ruth, explained: "At first the outlook was very bleak, and after pre-natal examinations she was given little chance to survive in the womb."

Ruth, aged 36, and husband, Paul, 38, of Tyldesley Road, Atherton were told if she was lucky enough to be born she wouldn't make her first birthday but Lydia has defeated all odds.

"When she was born at the Royal Bolton Hospital, it was horrible when I first saw her. Lydia's head was the same size as her dad's and I pondered on how I was going to be able to look after her. Her head was so heavy I could only hold her for a few seconds," said Ruth, who lost two litres of blood during the difficult birth. "But she has had eight operations up to now, she is the strongest and bravest little girl and we are so very proud of her. She always has a smile on her face and everywhere we go people just fall in love with her cheeky little smile."

Father Paul had to give up his job as a baker to help care for her and the family have to live with the knowledge that Lydia will never be able to walk or talk.

Little Lydia will be one on May 10 and on Saturday, May 5, family and friends are intent on giving her the best celebration party possible.

"We want to give her the best birthday party ever and we want as many people to come and share her birthday with us at the Rose Lesiure Formby Hall venue at Atherton (1pm-4pm).

"All proceeds from the day will be donated to Derian House Children's Hospice which has been a haven for us as a family. It is Lydia's second home, the staff are wonderful and have helped and supported us throughout our ups and downs. "We feel we want to give something back for the help we have received which is why we are having this event - Lydia's Fun Day. The Great Mr Merlin will entertain, and Asda are generously supplying the hotdogs and buns. There will be tombola and and auction with an open invite to families and people of all ages."Lydia's brothers, 17 year-old Bolton College student Dylan, Parklee Primary pupil Joseph (7) and 12 year-old sister Faye, a pupil at Fred Longwiorth High School all help look after their little sister.

"Faye is like a mother hen to her and Joseph loves to play with her when he gets home from school. They have all played a big part in Lydia's startling improvement. Our occupational therapist is amazing. Despite her problems Lydia is a clever little girl. Please come and join her her big day."