CHAMPION Child Callum Irvine returned to school for the first time this week – exactly one year on from an horrendous accident that left him fighting for his life.
Callum, eight, was hit by a car in Moorend last April and suffered brain injuries so severe that doctors feared he may never walk or talk again.
But the defiant young lad returned to class at Gomersal First School on Monday – to the delight of his family, friends and teachers.
Just hours later, Callum was able to get out of his wheelchair and walk to the podium to collect his Reporter Series Champion Children award.
It capped off a big few days for Callum, after he kicked off a football match between his under-eights team at Cleckheaton and Gomersal FC in their final game of the season against Norristhorpe on Sunday.
Mum Carly Irvine, of Sherwood Avenue, in Gomersal, is ‘over the moon’ at the progress that the determined youngster has made over the last six months.
“Words cannot describe how proud we are of him, but I always knew he could do it,” Carly said.
“As soon as he started proving doctors and nurses wrong with his recovery, I knew it. He has so much determination.
“Callum just loves going back to school, even if it’s only for an hour-and-a-half a day, and his friends are always so pleased to see him.”
Carly paid tribute to the support the family had received from Gomersal First School from the minute they heard about the terrible accident one year ago.
“The school have been fantastic because they have been fighting alongside us to get him back to where he belongs. We are so grateful for the support he has received from them,” she added.
Teacher Janis O’Keefe welcomed him back with open arms.
She said: “We’re very happy to see Callum back at school and we’re so proud of the progress he has made.
“He has a brilliant attitude towards learning and it’s great to see him in his uniform.”
It has been a tough road to recovery for Callum, who started walking again late last year and uttered his first full sentence in more than eight months, on Christmas Day.
Callum is a huge football fan and was a popular member of his local team before the accident.
Coach Colin Watson said it was ‘a dream come true’ to see him on the pitch again.
“We’ve been living and breathing his recovery with him, the whole club is behind him,” the under-eights coach said.
“There was a good crowd of over 70 people there watching him kick a ball for the first time in a year. It was incredible.
* For full coverage of all our Champion Children awards see p22-27.