Brotherly love conquers all

MIRACLE child Ben Housson, who suffered massive brain damage and lost a third of his body's blood, is to receive the prestigious Child of Achievement award.

By Georgina James

MIRACLE child Ben Housson, who suffered massive brain damage and lost a third of his body's blood, is to receive the prestigious Child of Achievement award.

Ben now eight has endured a horrific five years battling against the effects of brain damage and has been in and out of hospital more times than his family care to remember. He has undergone over 40 hours of major neuro-surgery and his condition was worsened when he had the added trauma of contracting meningitis.

Ben, who attends Orwell Park School, at Nacton, is to be joined at the award ceremony at the Hilton Hotel in London on Sunday by his brother Max, 11, who will be honoured for his strength and support throughout some very difficult times.

Even at such a young age Max has taken on the role as father to Ben and is constantly concerned for his younger brother and is naturally very protective of him.

It was in 1996 while on holiday with their mother in France that Ben's and Max's life changed beyond all comprehension. They were sitting inside a restaurant in Nice, enjoying a drink when a 100 kilo brass ship's wheel, which stood 6ft high, fell on Ben's head, causing the life threatening injuries.

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His heart stopped but thankfully he was resuscitated in the ambulance and put on a life support machine.

Ben's condition was described as beyond hope, but the plucky two-year-old defied all medical reason and walked out of hospital a month later.

Sadly, the day Ben was released from hospital, he suffered a further brain haemorrhage and had to undergo further surgery.

Patricia Salisbury, the boy's grandmother who they live with in Nacton, said: "Ben has managed to overcome the huge psychological problem of how he stills perceives himself to look following the initial sight of himself after the accident.

"But amazingly surgery to reconnect some of the severed facial nerves in an eight and a half hour procedure by French neuro-surgeons has bought his face back to normality."

Mrs Salisbury said that Ben's recovery has amazed everybody and to quote one of the doctors that treated him: "He got away with it."

Ben is just like any other normal child for his age except he has no sight or hearing on his right hand side. He is full of life and has defied all odds.

"He doesn't give in to anything and won't let anything stand in his way. He puts in a huge amount of effort all the time in order to achieve things which most of us take for granted.

"Max has suffered post traumatic stress and has had endless nightmares and lost a huge part of his childhood. He has had to grow up very quickly.

"Both Ben and Max are absolutely marvellous and they have both amazed me and humbled me with their sheer strength and determination. I am so proud and find it extremely rewarding looking after them," said Mrs Salisbury.

Andrew Auster, headmaster at Orwell Park, nominated Ben for the award with the backing of his grandmother and when the panel of judges read their story they suggested that Max should also be nominated.

Mrs Salisbury said: "The school has been wonderful and I will never be able to repay them for the care and compassion they have shown to the boys."

The boys' mother, Katrine, is living in France fighting a court case for compensation. She will be at the award ceremony.

The boys are excited about the event especially as one of the star guests is to be Harry Potter author, J K Rowling.

Max said: "I am really looking forward to the ceremony and am very proud and excited.

Ben said: "I am looking forward to collecting my trophy."