A PARAMEDIC and former soldier from Weymouth has become the first British citizen to receive a Humanitarian Award from the Serbian president.

Wayne Ingram was honoured for his efforts to transform the life of Stefan Savic, a Bosnian boy with a rare facial cleft he met while on patrol with the Army in 2003.

If left untreated, Stefan's condition could have caused serious health complications including blindness and restriction of his airway.

Having met Stefan, Wayne made a promise to himself to help and now, more than 14 years later and after countless fundraising events he has raised enough money to ensure Stefan has a life free from worry.

In total Wayne has raised an incredible £140,000, which has been used to pay for five operations. The last one took place in October 2016.

Stefan, now 18, had his first operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in July 2003.

This was followed by a second 12-hour operation in October 2003, during which hospital surgeons completely rebuilt Stefan’s face.

The next operation wasn’t until 2007 then a further seven years passed until the penultimate surgery in 2014.

The fifth and final procedure took place at The Portland Hospital in October last year.

All of the surgery has been completely successful and Stefan has made a full recovery.

Wayne’s fundraising journey has taken several years and now Stefan’s surgery has been carried out, he is delighted to have made such a difference.

He said “I feel immense pride. The whole thing has been a rollercoaster of emotions. Stefan’s facial transformation and progress is truly remarkable.”

A Serbian newspaper contacted Wayne and informed him that he had been nominated for an award and he spent an action packed three-day trip to the country’s capital, Belgrade, earlier this month.

Wayne added: "A Serbian newspaper contacted me saying that the Serbian populous had nominated me for this humanitarian accolade because I helped Stefan.

"My wife and I attended the ceremony within the City Hall in Belgrade, where I was announced as the first non-Serbian national to receive the award.

"It was a truly humbling and memorable experience.

"The Serbian president presented me with the award and we were treated like royalty. It was an incredible trip, but the main thing is that Stefan’s life has greatly improved and his future prospects are much brighter.

"I wish him and his family all the very best for the future and am definitely maintaining contact with them."


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