Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Young fan greets Harry with hug

Prince Harry was won over by a young boy who greeted him with a passionate hug at an awards ceremony to recognise the courage of seriously ill children and their families.

The Prince met with winners of the 10th annual WellChild Awards at the Hilton in Park Lane, central London.

Four-year-old Carson Hartley, who has a heart defect and is fitted with a portable ventilator, wasted no time in running straight up to the Prince and wrapping his arms around his legs.

The pair then exchanged a number of high fives while the Prince chatted to Carson's parents about his complex heart condition.

His mother Kirsty said: "We were worried he was going to high-five Prince Harry in the face he was so excited.

"Harry got down on his knees and had a big smile on his face while he was chatting to Carson, he couldn't believe how active he was despite all the conditions he has.

"He said he thought he was inspirational for still being so happy, but he also said that parents must be recognised too for how hard they work, which was really nice to hear."

The awards recognise the courage of children and young people living with serious illnesses as well as the dedicated families, nurses and doctors who care for them.

The Prince was also presented with a pottery pig that was designed to look like him, with the addition of curly red hair and a suit and tie.

Olivia Ruston, who won a young hero award for caring for her severely ill sister, said: "I wanted to make him something to say thank-you for all the work he does for WellChild.

"He said he really liked that it looked like him."

The Prince also gratefully received some tips on babysitting from one winner.

Ahead of becoming an uncle for the second time, after the Duchess of Cambridge earlier this month revealed she is pregnant again, the 30-year-old was handed a children's DVD.

Martin Bennett, 14, from Colchester, who won an award for his positive attitude towards living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, said: "I thought with two of them to babysit he might need some extra help, so I gave him a DVD he could stick on to distract one of them. He thought it was a great idea.

"I also told him a joke, but I think it's one for his Army mates and not for his granny."

The Prince, who had the letter "H" inscribed on the soles of his shoes, has been patron of WellChild since 2007 and is guest of honour at its annual event.

The awards ceremony is hosted by TV presenter Vernon Kay and attended by the charity's celebrity supporters including Dragons' Den star Duncan Bannatyne, comedian Russell Howard and pop singer Pixie Lott.

The Prince later presented Inspirational Child awards to Carson and six-year-old Maddison Sherwood, who has defied doctors since being diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy.

In a speech at the ceremony he said of all the winners: "You stories are moving beyond words and remind us all of just how fantastic you all are.

"You are an example to us all - we can learn a great deal from your strength of character, resolve and humour in facing down challenges every day."

He added: "There are few organisations which share WellChild's resolve; my support and admiration for this important charity grows stronger with every inspirational young person, parent and carer that I am lucky enough meet."

He also paid tribute to the families and health professionals who care for severely ill young people for "instilling tremendous spirit, hope and a great sense of fun into those in your care".

Colin Dyer, chief executive of the UK charity which provides practical and emotional support for seriously ill children under 18 and their carers, said Prince Harry's presence at the ceremony "means everything" to the winners.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph