Monday, 3 October 2016

A heartwarming hug for Harry

The most special hug of all - Prince Harry and Ollie at the WellChild Awards
(photo Kensington Palace Twitter) 
Prince Harry was told he was privileged at an awards ceremony and this time it was nothing to do with his royal role. The prince was presenting the Well Child Awards and one winner, five year old Ollie Carroll, gave him a huge hug as they met before the event got under way. But this was no ordinary cuddle. Ollie finds it hard to stand by himself but he pulled himself to his feet to hug Harry.

Ollie's mum, Lucy, said that her little boy barely ever tries to stand on his own - he has Battens Disease which affects mobility and which means that his muscles will eventually stop working. But when he saw the prince, Lucy says Ollie was drawn to him and pulled himself up to hold on to Harry for a huge hug. And that, says Lucy, makes the prince 'very privileged'. Harry agreed and then some.

Prince Harry arrives at the Dorchester Hotel in London for the WellChild Awards 2016
(photo WellChild Twitter)
The prince was at the Dorchester for the annual awards which were hosted by Dick and Dom and Gabby Roslin. The prizes recognise some of the bravest and most inspirational children in the country as well as parents, guardians and carers.

Before the main event started, Harry met the winners and their families backstage. There was no standing on ceremony for this royal visitor who sat down on the hotel carpet to chat with the children.

Just like his niece, Princess Charlotte, who got excited over balloons last week in Canada, Prince Harry seemed thrilled with the a balloon flower presented to him by another winner, Mikayla Bearnes. And then there was the ingenious sock monkey toy made by eight year old Samuel Merrick especially for the prince as well as drawings given to Harry by other winners including Myzat Mugomba.

And no evening out would be complete without a bit of a joke at his big brother's expense. When Jessica Davis met Harry, the ten year old told him that her brother, William, was embarrassing. There wasn't even a pause as the prince revealed that his brother with the same name was embarrassing all the time.  Harry spent a long time chatting to the children at the awards - their smiles and his said it all.

Harry later took to the stage as the awards were handed out to tell those present how much admiration he had for the young people who were being honoured and said he felt fortunate to have 'had the chance of meeting you all' before saying he was 'so proud to be associated with this fantastic charity'.

Harry is the patron of WellChild and has spoken many times of his admiration for its work and for the young people it supports. And his words show that he, like Ollie's mum, realises how special just one hug can be and how privilege comes in many different forms.

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