A YOUNG dancer wowed the judges to secure his place at a prestigious ballet school despite auditioning less than two weeks after coming out of hospital.

Ronnie Bates has been performing since he was four, taking part in pantomimes at the Oxford Playhouse as well as shows with the Stagecoach Theatre Arts Abingdon.

The 11-year-old began ballet classes at the Amanda Alder Dance Academy when he was eight.

His mum and dad decided to apply for a number of specialist dancing schools, including Elmhurst Ballet School, in Birmingham, and Tring Park School for the Performing Arts.

However, after getting through to the final audition at Elmhurst, in February Ronnie began to come down with what his mum thought was flu.

She said: “After a week he was still poorly and had lost so much weight. He wasn’t eating, it was really quite bad. We called the doctor who told us to phone an ambulance and he was rushed to hospital.”

The former-Sunningwell Primary School pupil was initially diagnosed with pneumonia, but after five days in the John Radcliffe Hospital Ronnie was given a CT scan and an abscess was found under his left lung.

Mrs Bates said: “It was touching his heart and spine. It made his lung collapse. It was causing him so much pain.”

Ronnie was rushed into theatre for surgery and had the abscess removed and after three weeks in hospital he was discharged on March 6.

Although the family, from Cumnor, had originally cancelled his final audition to Elmhurst, his mum caved in to his wish to go and he took to the stage ten days after getting out of hospital.

Ronnie wowed the judges and was given a scholarship to the £40,000-a-year school. He said: “When I got the letter I just don’t think anything ever felt that amazing before.”