The mother of a promising footballer from Ayr has thanked “amazing” staff at Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children for saving her son’s life - and for keeping his dream of playing for Scotland alive.

Connor Elliot, 15, was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, in November last year.

After scans and a biopsy, he required above the knee amputation surgery in his right leg, to prevent the cancer from spreading.

The decision to have the surgery was massive for Connor, who always hoped to become a footballer, but after a conversation with consultant paediatric orthopaedic surgeon Rod Duncan, decided having the amputation was his best option.

Connor’s mum Pauline said: “Connor absolutely loves Mr Duncan. His face lights up when he sees him and he trusts him so much.

"So when it came the time where he had to make a decision, I thought it would be a good idea that they spoke without me to see what the best option was.

“Mr Duncan was amazing. He explained everything to Connor, and said that if he chose the option of re-constructing his leg then he wouldn’t be able to play sports again - and also mentioned the option of taking up amputee football.

“Connor loves his sport and wanted to keep playing football, so after the conversation decided on taking the amputation option, which meant he could take up amputee football.

"Four weeks after his operation he was back on the football pitch playing amputee football and he’s thriving. He absolutely loves it.”

Connor’s talent for the sport has seen him invited to Premier League side Everton for a training session - and he now aims to represent Scotland’s national amputee football team, with a training camp in Poland planned for this summer.

Ayr Advertiser: Footballer Connor with the team

Pauline said: “I cannot believe the recovery Connor has had. It’s amazing, and I cannot thank all of the team at the Royal Hospital for Children enough for everything they have done for him.

"From the moment we walked in the door in Glasgow, everyone was amazing - from the reception staff, the domestic staff, the porters to the doctors, Kay, Katrina and all the nurses in wards 1A and 3C and the team at WestMARC where he has his rehab.

"There are no words for how incredible they are. They are all so kind, caring and compassionate. 

“Mr Duncan has a heart of gold. I cannot speak highly enough of him.

"He is retiring at the end of the month, which we are gutted about, but we would like to thank him for everything he has done.”

Connor is now back at Ayr's Queen Margaret Academy, playing football, spending time with his friends and going to watch his beloved Ayr United at the weekend.

Pauline said: “He’s so resilient, he has surprised me and just made it so easy for me. He’s a complete inspiration, that’s what everyone keeps saying and they are right.

“His school in Ayr have been so good with him too. I just can’t believe how well he has recovered from it all.

"He’s also managed to find the positive in everything that has happened, which is amazing.”

Following his surgery, Connor was surprised with a visit from Ayr United manager Lee Bullen and the club’s managing director Graeme Mathie.

Ayr Advertiser: Ayr manager Lee Bullen, Connor and Graeme Mathie

Lee said: “We were made aware of Connor’s story as his mum, Pauline, works with us on match days.

“He has shown an incredible resilience throughout his diagnosis and after his operation and it’s been brilliant to see him back at Somerset Park supporting the team.

"His love for football is evident and it’s great that he’s able to continue playing at a high level with the amputee football team.

"Connor has shown that no matter what life throws at you, having a positive mind-set is key. 

"He has dealt with a very challenging situation with maturity, positivity and brilliant energy and we’re proud to have him as part of our family at Ayr United!”

Jamie Redfern, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s director for women’s and children’s services, said: “What an amazing young man Connor is, he is an inspiration and the team at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow would like to congratulate him for everything he has achieved so far through his amputee football.

"We’re all cheering him on and can’t wait to see what he does next in the sport.

“Our dedicated staff at the Royal Hospital for Children work tirelessly to provide the highest standard of care to our patients and their families and this is yet another excellent example of this, I would like to thank them for everything they do.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to wish Mr Duncan a happy retirement, he will be missed by our patients, their families and our staff.”