Two little friends... united by courage: Amputee victims forge firm friendship after contracting meningitisBy Paul Sims
Last updated at 6:19 PM on 5th May 2011
Smiling together, the two pretty blonde girls could easily be mistaken as sisters, not new friends with a unique bond.
The lives of Ellie Challis and Charlotte Nott have taken almost identical paths. Both started life as healthy babies — until they contracted meningitis and had to have all of their limbs amputated.
The incredible survival story of Ellie, now seven, gripped the nation after she fell ill in 2005 at just 16 months old. And in December, three-year-old Charlotte narrowly survived the illness, but at the cost of her arms and legs.
‘Ellie was great — she showed Charlotte that she could get around easily with or without prosthetic legs and Charlotte hobbled after her. It was very special.’
The girls spent the day giggling with one another as they cuddled rabbits and fed lambs at Mead Open Farm in Bedfordshire.
‘I remember thinking that Ellie would never have a normal life. But it’s great that we’ve been able to show Charlotte and her family that there’s very little Ellie can’t do.’
Charlotte’s parents - Jenny, an administrator for a book publisher, and air conditioning repairman Alex Nott, also 29 - are just starting to come to terms with what has happened to their daughter.
‘So to see Ellie running around was so special to me - it has given me hope for Charlotte’s future.’
Ellie became the youngest person ever fitted with £10,000 carbon ‘flex-foot’ legs two years ago.
Ellie also let Charlotte have a go on her wheelchair - it is too tiring for her to use her prosthetic legs all the time. She controls it with the stumps of her arms.
She hopes to get her first pair of prosthetic limbs in the next few months once her wounds heal.
‘I still say thank you every day that Charlotte is still here with us,’ said Miss Daniels.
‘Watching her playing with Ellie was a miracle.’