A BRAVE schoolboy who underwent life-changing surgery in the US this summer was tonight (Monday, December 3) “over the moon” after switching on a council's Christmas lights.

Five-year-old Thomas Brennan, whose spastic diplegic cerebral palsy left him in constant pain and often unable to walk more than a few steps, faced the surgeon’s knife in St Louis, Missouri, in August in a bid to fix what he called his '' crazy legs''.

Since returning home to Ushaw Moor, County Durham, two months ago, Thomas's recovery has amazed doctors and he can now walk some distance unaided.

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Durham County Council picked Thomas to switch on the Christmas tree lights inside Durham’s County Hall and on the roundabout outside.

Thomas’ mother, Jodie Bussey, said tonight: ''He was over the moon. He kept asking when he could switch the lights on.

“And once he had done so he asked if they could be turned off so that he could do it again.”

She added: “It was a nice little treat for him after everything he has been through. Thomas has been so brave. It was an honour for him to have been asked.”

Speaking before the event, council chairman Linda Marshall said: ''Thomas is an inspirational youngster who has certainly had a year full of challenges.

''He has overcome a great deal and continues to be a fantastic example of how determination and bravery can achieve so much.”

Thomas travelled to the US after well-wishers raised more than £40,000 for the pioneering surgery, which involved cutting into his spine and severing a nerve, causing spasticity in his legs.

He is now back at school and getting five rehabilitation sessions per week.

His recovery is going so well it is hoped he may not need to return to the US for a check-up next summer, as had been expected.