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Mini ballerina gets her sparkle back thanks to top teacher; North Tyneside teacher has been nominated for Chronicle Champions Award after proving a lifeline to poorly pupil.

Byline: Craig Thompson

Mini ballerina Mia Turnbull's feared she may never dance again after she was diagnosed with a childhood hip disorder.

At just four years old, Mia was told she had Perthes disease, a condition which disrupts the flow of blood to the hip and left her sometimes needing to use a wheelchair.

It meant the little livewire, of Wallsend, could no longer run, skip, hop, dance and jump with other children her age - things she had always loved to do.

But the now six-year-old's life has been transformed thanks to the care and attention of her school teacher, Helen Connor, who has taken time out to learn all bout the disease and help her regain her dented confidence.

And Mia has nominated her Stephenson Memorial Primary School teacher for a Chronicle Champions Award as a way of saying thank you.

Mrs Connor, 42, said: "I'm delighted, this is a lovely thing for her to do."

Stacey Turnbull, Mia's mum, added: "When Mia started in Mrs Connor's class she was feeling quite low, but now she is so much better."

The young pupil's problems became apparent just after she started her reception year at school.

"She was limping," said Stacey, 32, "And she kept telling us her right leg was painful."

A series of tests followed and the family, including dad Graeme, 31, were told Mia would have to see an orthopaedic surgeon at the Great North Children's Hospital in Newcastle.

By the time Mia went into Mrs Connor's Year One class, she was withdrawn and frustrated.

Stacey, who also has a son, Dylan, four, added: "The school saw this and immediately acted.

"Sports day last year was adapted so Mia and another child in the class with the same disease could take part, it was amazing.

"Mrs Connor could not have been more helpful. She does daily exercises with Mia to help her hip, totally above and beyond what she needs to do.

"She's also ensured Mia has been included in all activities.

"She's given our little girl back her sparkle.

"All the children in her class adore her and their beaming smiles speak volumes. She is a truly special person working in an amazing school. We can't begin to thank them enough."

Mia's bone is now re-growing and hopes are high that she will continue to recover.

Mrs Connor, who has worked at the school for the past four years, said: "I hadn't heard of Perthes disease when Mia came into my class last September.

"Coincidentally, I had another pupil with the same condition, so I did some research and looked into how we could help them both."

Mrs Connor has been nominated in the Champion Teacher category of this year's awards.

The Chronicle Champions Awards recognise bravery, devotion and selflessness in unsung heroes across the region.

Here are the 12 categories:

* Champion Fundraiser sponsored by Npower

* Outstanding Act of Bravery sponsored by Blueline Taxis

* Young Role Model sponsored by Leathers LLP

* Armed Forces Champion sponsored by Royal British Legion

* Champion Child of Courage sponsored by Northumbrian Water

* Unsung Sporting Champion

* Champion Neighbour

* Champion Mum or Dad

* Champion Business sponsored by Bernicia

* Champion Teacher

* Champion Green Award

* Champion Pensioner

To enter these awards CLICK HERE and then click on the entry form.
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Publication:The Chronicle (Newscastle upon Tyne, England)
Date:Jul 10, 2015
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