A tired but happy Nigel Kendall has asked the Star to tell readers that his family is delighted to be back home from the USA and his daughter Katherine is making marvellous progress.

Before they left, the Frimley Green teenager had virtually stopped speaking, didn't like being kissed and hugged or even having someone sitting close to her on the sofa.

"Now we've got a child who makes a fuss over you," said Nigel. "She wants to kiss you, hug you. She has a completely different personality."

When Katherine began to speak again about a week after the surgery, she suddenly smiled, put her arms around Anna and said: "I love you, mummy."

Katherine (18) underwent three brain operations in the USA, two of them lasting 12 hours each, after the family spent nearly two years raising money to fund the pioneering surgery to cure her severe epilepsy.

Nigel said that as he thought back over the last five weeks he wondered how the family coped, but somehow they found the emotional reserves to carry on.

He praised the Americans they met for treating them so well. "We English are a bit reserved, but the Americans are far more up front with their feelings. So many people stopped us in corridors and lifts to wish us well."

Nigel said that the constant epileptic activity has now stopped and Katherine has had no seizures for over a week.

"We have been delighted with the early results," he said. "Katherine has now become a much more affectionate child and is a delight to be with.

"We have taken her out to the post office and she is able to go for walks. It is quite a transformation. Katherine is regaining skills every day because now her brain is able to work properly." He said they would have to wait a few months to see the full benefit.

The procedure - a multiple-subpial cortical transection (MST) - was carried out by neurosurgeon Dr Arun-Angelo Patil, who waived his fee at the University of Nebraska Hospital. Dr Patil said the operation was long, tedious and boring and involved breaking "zillions" of connections.

"All we know is, it works," he said. British surgeons will operate on only one side of the brain, and Dr Patil is so far the only doctor in the world who will do both sides.

He left a five day gap between the ops and Katherine lost only 100 ml of blood, even though she has a mild bleeding disorder.

Meanwhile the charity set up to deal with Katherine's medical bills will continue to exist to campaign for the operations to be made available in Britain for other sufferers.There are about 3,000 children in the UK who struggle with the same kind of epilepsy as Katherine and the Kendalls are hoping that surgeons around the world will adopt the MST procedure.

PICTURE: A joyful moment captured for the Kendall family album as Mrs Anna Kendall is able to take Katherine for a walk in the park near the Omaha hospital.