Miracle child Elizabeth Gregory was the smallest baby in Wiltshire in 2004 and was not expected to live, but she has defied the doctors and is starting school tomorrow.

Elizabeth, four, from Penleigh Close, Corsham, was born at 23 weeks making 17 weeks premature. She weighed just 1lb 6oz.

Now she is looking forward to starting at Corsham Primary School.

Her mother, Karen Gregory, 37, a child minder, said: "Elizabeth is so eager to start school and she loved getting her school uniform. It's just going to be weird not having her around everyday.

"She has been going to the Mansion House playgroup up until now but she only went there in the morning. I haven't got my head around the idea that she will be away all day, but her older sister Katie will keep an eye on her at school.

"When she was born her chances of survival were so slim but she is such a fighter."

Elizabeth had to be put on life support for the first ten weeks of her life to help her breathe, as her lungs were not fully developed.

After five weeks she had to have an operation to close a valve in her heart.

Mrs Gregory said: "I couldn't pick her up for the first seven weeks because she was so fragile.

"Her body was the length of my hand and when nurses asked me to change her nappy two days after she was born her legs felt like chicken legs. She was a bag of bones."

Elizabeth who has an older brother Alister, 12, and sister, Katie, ten, was allowed to go home after four months on June 28, the date she was originally due to be born. She has grown very well but will still be one of the smallest children at school at 3ft 2ins.

Her mum said: "We have had such a hard time trying to get school shoes to fit her as she is a size eight and many school shoes start at size nine."

Mrs Gregory and her husband Dave, 39, a computer programmer, are keen to help the Forever Friends' Space to Grow campaign to help raise £4.7 million for a new Neonatal intensive care unit at the Royal United Hospital in Bath where Elizabeth was born.

Each year on Elizabeth's birthday the family visit the unit and take in special baby clothing.

Mrs Gregory is keen to fundraise in the future and saves as much as she can using a collection box.

So far the Forever Friends Appeal has managed to raise almost £1.5 million.