'This is the best thing that has ever happened to me' - Ex-soldier raises £100k to fix Bosnian boy's disfigured face

Former soldier Wayne Ingram, who spotted a four-year-old boy with severe facial deformities 10 years ago, has since been fundraising to deliver his promise of giving him a new face.

Wayne, 44, vowed to help Stefan Savic, who is now 14, after meeting him while on peacekeeping duties in Bosnia.

Wayne Ingram spotted Stefan Savic while on patrol in Bosnia and has spent the past decade raising money for the youngster's surgery. Credit: Great Ormond Street

Stefan was born with a debilitating condition called Tessier facial cleft, which meant his eyes were 4.5 cm further apart than normal and he had no nose and a crushed skull.

Before meeting Mr Ingham, Stefan's condition had been left untreated, causing the gap between the his eyes to grow to a point were he couldn't see what was ahead of him.

Stefan was born with his eyes 4.5 cm further apart than normal and no nose and a crushed skull. Credit: Great Ormond Street

The former Staff Sergeant with the 9th/12th Royal Lancers has raised more than £100,000 to pay for the Bosnian boy to have surgery at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London.

He collected £85,000 in less than a year by a fundraising drive across Bosnia and the UK, before bringing Stefan to London in 2003 for his first operation.

After 12 hours of surgery with plastic surgeon David Dunaway, who cut his face in half before moving his eyes closer together and building him a nose, doctors warned the youngster he would need to come back to finish the treatment a decade later.

The operation has been a success for the teenager who said it was the "best thing" that ever happened to him. Credit: Great Ormond Street

Stefan returned to Great Ormond Street this week for his second operation to improve his face and help his breathing.

The treatment so far has been a success for the youngster, who now only needs a further operation on his nose, orthodontics to realign his teeth and then one final surgery to correct the roof of his mouth.

Mr Ingham has been so inspired by the youngster's medical progress that he became a paramedic after leaving the army, and vows to be there every step of the way for the final stages of Stefan's treatment.

Stefan Savic with his surgeon David Dunaway who has been giving the teenager his new face. Credit: Great Ormond Street

Mr Ingham, from Dorset, said: "He was just a normal, playful little boy. I had two young sons and there was noway I could do nothing."

"His mum says that after his latest operation he looked in the mirror and said, 'This is the best thing that has ever happened to me'," Wayne added.