14/08/2014 12:49 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Teenager Terri Prepares To Leave School After Suffering 85% Burns In A House Fire

Dad's pride as horrifically burnt daughter prepares to leave school

It is a proud moment for any parent when a child leaves school. But for Paul Calvesbert, the milestone has extra special significance.

For his daughter, Terri, was so horrifically burnt in a fire when she was two years old, it was thought she would never survive.

But not only is the 16-year-old alive – but she is thriving, and is now preparing to leave school.

The teenager – whose mum Julie has talked about how she accidentally started the fire with a discarded cigarette – has had countless operations.

But she has come through them all to make her dad Paul so proud.

"I never thought I would see her start school, let alone get to this stage," Paul said.

Terri's incredible battle against adversity started when a blaze tore through her bedroom in November 1998, leaving her with 85% burns.

She was left with no hair, lips, nose or fingers, and just one foot. Wrapped head to toe in bandages, she had to learn to walk all over again.

But while Terri began her slow and tortuous recovery in hospital, Julie – unable to cope with the guilt at what she had done – left the family home in Ipswich, Suffolk.

Mother and daughter have since had a number of reconciliations but Paul, 40, says Terri's relationship with her stepmum Nicky, his second wife, has been a great help.

"They get on so well, it is very special," he said.

He added: "Seeing Terri leave school is a huge deal, I am so proud of her. "In the early days I never thought I would see her grow up but she has exceeded everyone's expectations."

Terri said: "It is fairly scary leaving school. "I will miss it, I have always enjoyed school. I've made some great friends, they have always looked out for me."

Next Terri is planning to take a qualification in animal studies at Otley College, near Ipswich. She said: "When I was younger I wanted to work in a hospital helping people, or as an ambulance driver.

"Then I decided I wanted to work with children and then I realised animals would be easier to work with than kids."

Meanwhile she has her school prom to look forward to.

"I can't wait," she said. "I already have my dress sorted."