PLUCKY Paige Blake has thanked the surgeon who carried out her third open heart surgery for "fixing her broken heart".

The Rosyth six-year-old wrote a thank you card to her cardiologist before she eventually returned home on Monday night after six weeks in Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The Park Road Primary pupil was just 20-weeks-old in the womb when she was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare congenital defect where the left ventricle of the heart is under-developed severely.

The condition meant she had to have her first open-heart surgery to insert a shunt at just four-days-old and had another major procedure at four months.

She spent the first six months of her life at Yorkhill and her family came close to losing her several times – and were once even told she only had 48 hours to live.

Last month, she underwent a 10-and-a-half-hour operation and, after suffering setbacks which included sepsis and fluid on the chest, she spent her first night back at home with dad John, mum Claire and siblings Chloe, nine, and Michael, five.

Paige's parents said she "sang her way" through her initial recovery and informed hospital staff continually that she was "as tough as old boots".

Dad John said: "Every time she had a procedure or got a line put in, she would say to the doctor, 'I am as tough as old boots.' When we got the phone call to go and see her after the operation, we couldn't believe the difference. Before, she had blue-tinted lips but she was actually pink. It was overwhelming. They always said there would be a difference in her colour but until you see it for yourself ...

"I love curling up on the couch with her and what I have noticed about her now is the heat on her as she was always very cold but she will still have limits."

Relieved to be home, John said it had been an "overwhelming and emotional" six weeks.

"The first two times were difficult but this was harder because she is older and is aware of what is going on," he said. "She can tell you if she is sore or if is she is scared.

"Even when she was on the ventilator, she is a big George Ezra fan and she tried singing when she had the ventilator on and every night, even in intensive care, she sang her way through it. She is a miracle girl. She goes through so much yet she just gets on with it. She is amazing.

"When they go down for that level of surgery, you take them down and you don't know if you are going to see them again. You are completely in the hands of someone else. We feel blessed to have her.

"I have so much admiration for Paige's surgeon, Mark Danton. He is my hero."

Claire and John took turns staying in Glasgow to be with Paige and they even brought Chloe and Michael through to stay for spells at the nearby Ronald Macdonald House as the time spent apart had started to affect them as well. They were all delighted to have her home again.

"It was amazing to go and see her lying in her bed rather than seeing an empty bed," added Claire. "We keep checking on her. It is probably something we will always do – we will never stop worrying."