A GREENOCK schoolgirl who was given little chance of survival after being born three months early has entered her final year at high school.

Inspirational Leah Canning is a tireless charity campaigner, has won a clutch of beauty pageant titles and has been nominated for an upcoming Radio 1 Teen Hero awards later this year.

But when she was born her mum Lynette was warned by doctors that her tiny baby might not see her first birthday.

Now 17 years on, the hard working teen has her heart set on becoming a primary school teaching and a mentor for young children.

Along the way she has battled health problems including anxiety attacks, suffers from hyper mobility and has had to stand up to bullies.

Leah, 17, from McLeod Street in Greenock, said: "I wasn't expected to survive, so I suppose I was given a second chance - and I don't intend to waste it."

Throughout her years at school she has taken on leadership roles at school as part of the Clyde Conversations, winning many accolades for her achievements including leading the Young Enterprise team and representing her school at a number of events.

Leah says she would never have come this far if it wasn't for Inverclyde Academy head teacher Denise Crawford.

She said: "I think Mrs Crawford spotted something in me, that I didn't spot in myself.

"I was quiet when I started high school, but she has given me so many opportunities.

"She always says to me that she is there to make my dreams come true."

Leah has also rose through the ranks in the beauty pageant circuit and has held a clutch of titles, including Miss Teen Scotland.

Through her pageant work, she also fundraises for charity.

Leah said: "They have given me confidence and helped with public speaking.

"I have had my fair share of negativity and people making unkind comments, but they can say what they like. I just carry on."

She added: "I have a heart murmur and arthritis. I also have hyper mobility, which can be quite painful."

As a baby, brave Leah spent her first two months in an incubator after she was born at only 28 weeks on 10 April 2001, weighing just 2Ilbs and nine ounces.

But after winning her battle for her life, Leah has never looked back.

Her proud mum said: "It is hard now to believe that doctors thought she might not live to see her first birthday.

"She has always been a fighter, I am so proud of her."

Later this year Leah, who was previously a Tele Community Champion finalist, is off to London for the Radio 1 event

She added: "I am very excited, I have no idea who nominated me."

Next year Leah is hoping to go to college and then on to university to study teaching.

She added:"It is what I really want to do."

Leah would like to thanks her teachers at Inverclyde Academy including Mrs Crawford and Mr Monaghan, King's Oak Primary, Cherry Connor, a director at Models and Pageants Limited and McVeys Hairdressers.