SMILING brightly at the camera, it is hard to believe that the life of this Hampshire teenager hung in the balance before it had even properly begun.

Schoolgirl Anna Nuttall was born with a hole in her heart and needed intricate, lifesaving surgery at just six weeks old.

Now the 14-year-old has helped raise hundreds of pounds for Southampton General Hospital’s cardiac unit, in honour of the surgeons who saved her life.

Anna joined forces with her fellow Year 9 pupils at Wyvern Technology College, in Fair Oak , to raise funds for the unit through a series of fundraising activities.

Around 70 youngsters pulled together earlier this week to take part in an aerobathon, while other pupils hosted a bake sale, to take their fundraising tally to more than £300.

It comes after the unit was chosen as charity of the year by the 270 pupils in the year group, after being nominated by Anna.

The 14-year-old, who is now a tutor group representative at the school, said: “I was born in Winchester but got transferred to Southampton because of the hole in my heart.

“I don’t remember anything because I was too young, but my parents have said that if I hadn’t gone there I would have died. I pretty much owe the unit and the surgeons my life.”

The future of the world-renowned unit at Southampton General Hospital had been at stake under a Government consultation, but it was saved from the axe following the Daily Echo’s Have a Heart campaign, which collected petitions containing more than 250,000 signatures.

Anna, who lives in Boyatt Wood with her parents, Tracey and Andrew, and two older sisters, Rebecca, 25, and Katie, 18, added: “It means a lot to me to raise money for them.

When I heard it could be shut down I couldn’t believe it.

“They do such great work and save so many lives.”