IT may be the height of summer but cancer survivor Katie Pake reckoned it's never too early to tell Santa what you'd like for Christmas.

The inspirational Carnegie Swimming Club member, 11 was surprised by an off-duty St Nick at an event to celebrate the courage of children and young people diagnosed with the disease.

Katie lost most of her leg to cancer and wrote 'Please recycle' on her limb, hoping the tissue could be used in medical research, before surgeons amputated.

She's now back competing in the pool for the Dunfermline club – she met her hero, Scottish swimming star Hannah Miley earlier this year – and has won gold medals in national championships.

Proud mum Carol Pake said: “Katie wants to be a champion for all children affected by cancer.

“She wants to swim, play football, skydive, represent Scotland in the Paralympics and maybe one day even become a surgeon.

"And most of all she wants to make a difference.”

Katie was a guest of honour at the Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens Star Awards party, supported by TK Maxx, which was held in London last week.

The magical winter wonderland themed bash gave children and their families – some of whom have missed out on festive celebrations in the past due to cancer treatment – a memorable experience together.

There were games, arts and craft activities, fun with TV's Mister Maker and an early present from Santa himself.

Special awards were given to 21 kids in total to recognise their strength.

Carol added: “We had a magical day and it was amazing seeing Katie meet Santa at the party. She’s been through so much and has been so brave.

"To see her so thrilled to attend an early Christmas party has been a gift to us all.”

Katie, from Coaltown of Balgonie, now trains four times a week with the Carnegie club and has learned to walk with a prosthetic limb.

Parents Carol and Grant first took her to the GP when she complained of a painful knee that was preventing her from swimming.

But nothing could prepare them for the test results in June 2017 which showed their daughter had osteosarcoma, the most common type of bone cancer in UK children.

She started chemotherapy with medics initially hopeful they could remove the cancer and save her leg.

But tests showed the disease had spread and although a new intense chemotherapy treatment managed to eradicate it from her spine and hips, Katie endured an eight-hour operation on February 9 last year, two days before her 10th birthday.

Doctors removed the middle section of her right leg and reattached her foot and ankle, back to front, to her thigh to create a new knee joint.

The op, known as rotationplasty, made it easier for her to wear a prosthetic limb.

Katie, who has now been given the all clear, takes off her artificial leg to swim and has since won gold medals at the junior and senior Scottish Disability Sport National Swimming Championships.

Linda Summerhayes, of Cancer Research UK, said: “It is an absolute honour to be able to recognise the strength of youngsters like Katie who have been through so much at such a young age. She is a real star.

“Cancer can have a devastating impact on children and young people, so it was a joy to make Katie’s day as she met Santa at our winter wonderland themed party.

“Every year, around 140 children are diagnosed with cancer in the Scotland. Our mission is to help save the lives of more youngsters and reduce the long-term side effects they may experience, by finding new, better and kinder treatments."

For more information about the Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens Star Awards or to nominate a star, visit