A MIRACLE teenager who defied the odds to survive a house fire which left him with horrific burns is to front a campaign for a national charity.
Connor Rowntree was playing with an aerosol at friend’s home in Newbottle in 2009, when he was engulfed in flames.
At the time, his parents were told his chances of survival were “zero”, with burns covering 90 per cent of his body.
However, he later endured more than 100 operations as he battled back to health.
Last year, the 17-year-old, who featured in a fire safety campaign, was honoured by children’s charity WellChild at a star-studded ceremony.
Now the youngster is calling on people to put forward their 2012 nominations for the awards, an event which can make a “real impact on the morale of the winners’ and their families”.
“Connor had such a fantastic evening at the WellChild Awards in London,” said mum Carol. “It was lovely for Connor to be the centre of attention for such a positive reason and it would be terrific for another child or medical professional in the area to be a winner as it was such a great experience for us all to be involved in and was something which we will never forget.”
The annual WellChild Awards, supported by GlaxoSmithKline, celebrate the bravery of the country’s seriously-ill children and the dedication of those who make a difference to their lives.
Connor was among winners who attended a glittering awards ceremony at the InterContinental Hotel, in London’s Park Lane, where he chatted with celebrities and charity supporters, including royal patron Prince Harry.
He was picked from hundreds of nominations to win the category of Bravest Young Person.
“The reaction I’ve had from people when they say I’ve been an inspiration and the success of the campaign has been so much more than I thought it would be,” he said.
“I’m glad I’ve been able to take what happened to me and use it for something positive.”
Connor was 15 when he was badly injured. Using his harrowing experiences to help others, he teamed up with the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service for a potentially life-saving campaign targeting youngsters.
Yesterday the Echo revealed Connor was to be an Olympic torchbearer.
WELLCHILD is the national charity for sick youngsters and is committed to helping children and their families throughout the UK as they deal with the consequences of serious illness and complex conditions.
The awards include a range of categories such as Inspirational Child or Young Person.
The charity would like to hear about people who have made a difference to sick children by caring “above and beyond the call of duty” or have worked extra hard to keep children healthy and happy – including outstanding health, social care or education professionals.
Entries for the 2012 Awards will be judged by an expert panel.
Awards will be handed out at a ceremony in London in September.
The closing date for entries is May 18.
For more information, call 0845 458 8171 or visit www.wellchild.org.uk.