A couple are cherishing their most precious Christmas gift of all — the life of their baby daughter who has made a miraculous recovery after being struck down with potentially fatal meningitis and blood poisoning.

Lindsay and Lee Scott can now look forward to the prospect of a Happy New Year with six-month-old Layla, whose progress since contracting the bacterial infection has amazed doctors.

After nine days in hospital, the brave youngster was eventually allowed home in time to spend Christmas Day with her proud parents and sister, seven-year-old Alyssia.

Layla had been on a life support machine for several days after medical staff told her mum and dad that she had been just 60 minutes away from death.

Mrs Scott, aged 28, of Vicarage Road, Blackrod, told how first her GP and then doctors in A&E at the Royal Bolton Hospital diagnosed a virus and sent her home.

However, just hours later, Mrs Scott discovered three tiny purple marks under her daughter’s left arm, which were still visible when pressed with a glass.

Her parents were unable to wake her and her eyes were rolling. They took her hospital where 12 doctors fought to save her.

Mrs Scott said: “For the next 30 minutes, they were doing all they could as her body seemed to be shutting down and she had difficulty breathing.”

Layla was diagnosed with the meningococcal meningitis, the worst form of the disease, and she had also developed septicaemia.

Doctors worked on her for three hours, giving her adrenaline, two blood transfusions and antibiotics before she was transferred to intensive care at the Manchester Children’s Hospital.

“She was put on a life support machine and we were told the next 24 hours would be critical,” added Mrs Scott. “After three days, they turned down the ventilator to see if she would respond and, thankfully, she started to breathe a bit on her own.”

As her recovery kicked in, the baby was eventually returned to the Royal Bolton before leaving hospital on Christmas Eve. Mrs Scott said: “Doctors say they’ve never seen a recovery so quick, given how poorly she was.

“Having Layla home on Christmas Day was the best present we could have had.”

She urged parents to be aware of the symptoms of meningitis and to act quickly.

Mrs Scott’s husband, Lee, aged 28, said: “Doctors at the Royal Bolton told us that another hour and Layla wouldn’t have made it.”