QUICK-THINKING Billy Ellis beams with delight as he hugs the baby sister whose life he saved.
The eight-year-old calmly phoned 999 when his pregnant mum collapsed at the family home.
He then passed the house keys through the letterbox when paramedics arrived.
Thanks to brave Billy, mum Zoe Edmenson, 31, got the swift help she needed for her perilously low blood pressure which was putting the unborn baby’s life at risk.
She recovered to have a 6lbs 4ozs beautiful baby daughter called Sally.
And as she proudly cuddled the handsome little lad who saved the day, she said: “Sally is my little miracle and Billy is a brave little hero.”
But the dramatic story is even more remarkable – because Billy has spent a lifetime battling his own series of illnesses.
He contracted pneumococcal meningitis when he was six months old and faced a month in hospital.
He pulled through but the legacy of it was a lifelong problem of epilepsy. He has suffered hundreds of seizures since.
Three years later, he was on a life support machine after falling ill when a cup of tea accidentally spilled on to his chest, in 2006.
Then last year, he needed treatment for mastoiditis. He was still unwell from it when he came to his mum’s rescue while Zoe was 28 weeks pregnant.
Mum explained: “I developed vasovegal syncope where my blood pressure would drop very low and I would collapse. It would happen in my house, in the garden, at the bank machine.
“I was covered in cuts and bruises every time it happened, and it was a high-risk to the baby as I would often fall on my stomach.
“And every time, I was rushed to the University Hospital of North Tees to get checks to make sure baby was safe.
“It was very worrying and stressful, but Billy was a little hero.
“He dialled 999 and told the operator ‘my mam is on the floor and she won’t wake up’.
“They got him to check my eyes were open. He gave them my address and passed them the keys to get in when they arrived.
“He even phoned my partner Mark at work to tell him I had collapsed.”
Zoe’s pregnancy with Sally was no easy matter.
She and her partner Mark Westmoreland, 33, faced weeks in panic when she started contractions at just 23 weeks.
Doctors feared the worst and Zoe, of Swinburne Road, Hartlepool, admitted: “They told us that, at this stage they don’t even resuscitate as the baby has very little chance of survival.”
But doctors put her on drugs and steroids and delayed the birth until the 37th week when Sally was born by emergency Caesarian section.
To the absolute delight of mum and dad she was perfectly healthy. Now aged seven months, her only ailment is an allergy to milk.
Zoe feels she is finally turning the corner and hopes to complete the tragedy-to-joy story by winning the Bride of the Year competition run by the Hartlepool Mail in conjunction with Robert Usher Photography.
She said: “We truly love each other and want to give our children a happy day they will never forget as well as ourselves, our family and friends”.
She said she was a single mum until she met Mark via a social media site just over three years ago.
“I never thought in a million years that anyone would love me and my son enough to take all this extra stress on.”