A BABY given little chance of survival after being born 18 weeks premature has celebrated her first birthday.

Barely the size of her mother's hand and weighing 1lb, Chloe Sturrock needed laser eye surgery to stop her going blind and heart surgery to help her breathe.

But yesterday, Chloe celebrated her first birthday - a day her parents thought she might never see.

Her father, John, 26, said: "We can't believe we've made it here. It's like a dream come true."

John and his 32-year-old partner, Gill, plan to throw a big party for their little miracle this weekend at their home in Central Avenue, North Shield, North Tyneside.

Gill said: "When I look back to where we were a year ago, it's just amazing."

Despite being given drugs to postpone the birth, Gill went into labour just 22 weeks into her pregnancy.

Born frail and poorly, Chloe was immediately transferred to the special care baby unit at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Frightened to even pick her up, the couple, who are both postal workers, had to wait 111 days before they were finally allowed by the doctors to take their daughter home.

Today, Chloe is able to flip herself over and is rapidly getting the strength she needs to pull herself up on to her feet.

Weighing a healthy 19lb, she is proving a real little character

Gill added: "She can stand up with a little help from me and John. It won't be long until she's into everything, so we'll have to keep our eyes open."