WE ARE sure our readers will be delighted to read about the startling progress made by young Sophia Aitken, from taking her first steps just a year ago, after surgery in the US, to enjoying ballet lessons.

That she has come so far, so fast, is a tribute to her determination and hard work – she must undergo regular physiotherapy for a long time to come to help maintain her progress – and to that of her parents Tara Harris and Andrew Aitken, who put their wedding plans on hold and devoted themselves to doing everything they could to help their daughter to walk.

Miss Harris says that the changes to the family’s lives over the past year are like a miracle and it is hard to disagree looking back 18 months to our first story about Sophia, when she could only walk with the aid of a frame and her legs were becoming deformed.

Witney Gazette readers were among those responsible for helping her to achieve this remarkable transformation, by responding to her parents’ appeal for help to raise the money for the operation.

Her broad smile in our pictures today tells you all you need to know about the difference that being able to walk unaided has made to her life and provides a fitting reminder that this is a time of year to think of others and how we could help them.

Happy Christmas to all our readers.