A BOY who defied the odds of surviving being born 17 weeks prematurely continues his remarkable recovery as he no longer needs oxygen support 24 hours a day.

Doctors told parents Kevin and Philippa Thompson that baby Ashtyn was unlikely to pull through after being born at 23 weeks. But after spending five months in hospital, he was allowed to return to his Henshaw home where he was hooked up to constant oxygen supplies.

But this week his proud parents, and even prouder brothers Theo (7), Rohan and Parker (both 4), were overjoyed as Ashtyn was allowed to come off oxygen to enable him to live as close to a normal life as possible.

Mrs Thompson said: "The boys are so happy for him. They are like his number one fans and cheerleaders!

"As soon as I found out he was coming off oxygen, I was more excited to tell them than anyone else because they always give the best reactions.

"I think they don't quite see him as a normal baby due to all the tubes, but they see this as him becoming more like a normal baby."

When Ashtyn was born, doctors informed his parents that he would likely be on oxygen longer than other premature born babies, who were usually weaned off after one year.

And while it has been difficult for the family while he has been on endless oxygen supplies, and when the entire family has shielded through the national lockdowns, it has all been worthwhile now that Ashtyn is enjoying a new found freedom.

Mrs Thompson said: "Ashtyn is doing really well and we couldn't picture being without all the medical equipment we had to cart around everywhere.

"The freedom you feel with him not being on what felt like a lead is such a relief. You couldn't walk very far with him without having to put a can of oxygen on your back or because he would be plugged into a machine and couldn't go very far without being pulled back.

"Being able to pick him up and walk around the house is a very different but lovely experience."

She added: "When he was on his oxygen, we couldn't have taken him swimming but now we can do all those things, and I can't wait as Ashtyn is going to love it."