Shamiam Arif

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18 Nov, 2007

Luton's much-loved little burns victim Shamiam Arif is back in town for more surgery.

The feisty five-year-old has spent the past few months in Pakistan at the home specially built for her and her family with money from her appeal fund.

But ongoing problems with her health have meant a return to Britain and more appointments with skilled plastic surgeon Peter Dziewulski, who has been caring for her free of charge at Cheltenham Hospital's specialist burns unit.

She is scheduled to see him later this month when he will check a bone in her right elbow, which is protruding and making clicking noises. He will probably need to ease the skin as well.

Shamiam is here with her mother and father and younger brother Shakaib, four. But her six-month-old sister Shamita had to be left behind because of visa difficulties.

Mum Tahira, 25, is torn between her last born - left in her mother's care - and the little girl who was so badly burned four years ago that they feared she would die.

Tahira is used to making sacrifices so that Shamiam can have the best possible care. Even so her eyes fill with tears when she thinks how long it could be before she sees Shamita again.

And although she's immensely grateful for all the treatment Shamiam has had, she admits it's becoming harder for the brave little girl who masks her emotions behind a sunny smile.

Tahira says: