At the annual WellChild Awards last night, Prince Harry spent time with seriously ill youngsters at the Royal Lancaster Hotel.
During the event, the Prince was asked by nine-year-old Marni Ahmed, who suffers from a rare skin condition, Harlequin’s Ichthyosis, if he had ever eaten a Doner kebab, to which Harry replied: “No, but my friends have.”
Marni also asked Harry what he had eaten for breakfast, after he had been given a dare from WellChild ambassador TV presenter Gaby Roslin. “He said, ‘bacon and sausage sandwich,” Marni said.
The youngster had met Harry earlier in the day, aboard a vintage train at Paddington Station, joined by other people supported by royal charities. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge went aboard to speak to them with the red-haired Prince. He asked the 9-year-old what he thought of the train ride. “You can tell me the truth,” Harry whispered. “Was it actually good?”
Marni told him that it had been very good, but that the train journey had “a lot of stops”
Another who chatted to the Royal was Erin Cross, who has been fighting leukaemia for almost five years. Erin was shy when the Prince first approached her, but him discussing her present to him (a drawing of the pair in a helicopter) coaxed her out, and she was soon laughing and joking, with Harry in his element on his knees with children.
Sasha Burrell, 13, was given some advice by Prince Harry; Sasha has prosthetic legs, which she has since 2013, when she contracted sepsis and lost her limbs.
“Sport is the thing,” Harry told her. “Sport will help the mind, body and everything.” Of course, Harry has seen the power of physical activity and competition in injured veterans through the Invictus Games, which has just finished its third games in Toronto.
He also spoke to Katie Ward, 10, who has a YouTube channel. She is in a wheelchair after being born with short stature and surgery later saw her paralysed from the ribcage down. Asking her whether she had been filming her day with WellChild, Harry made her promise to upload it to so he could watch.
“I’m going to hold you to that. Make sure you do, I’m looking forward to watching it,” the Royal said.
Due to the high winds of storm Ophelia, the Northern Irish winners who were due to attend the awards couldn’t make it. Not wanting them to miss out, the former army captain Skyped the
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) October 16, 2017
All this came before the 16 awards were handed out, recognising bravery in the face of such adversity, as well as exceptional medical care professionals.
Harry told the audience that it was a pleasure to meet them all, and recalled the times he had met inspirational people, such as during a visit to a WellChild project in Leeds.
“These awards were created to shine a bright light on an amazingly brave group of children and young people, on their lives, and on the resolve they and their families have shown to overcome such challenges. Life for families caring for seriously ill children is exceptionally tough. And without WellChild it is even tougher.”
“Many of the children and young people WellChild support have been dealt the hardest card imaginable in life, and yet their courage inspires the most incredible strength in those around them,” Harry said.
“I want to thank you all for the amazing work you do. You have my utmost admiration. The spirit shown by the young people who have so deservedly won these WellChild Awards this evening humbles all of us.”
Harry presented two awards to the youngest recipients: seven-year-old Finley Green who copes with conditions including a cyst on the brain and is tube fed, and Erin Cross.
Other stars who attended the event included children’s television presenters Dick and Dom, grime artist Stormzy, TV personality Gillian McKeith, classical singer Natalie Coyle, magician Dynamo, and entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne. WellChild ambassadors Gaby Roslin and Ashley Banjo were also on hand for the night’s proceedings.
— GRM Daily (@GRMDAILY) October 16, 2017
The Prince spent three hours at the event in total, much longer than a usual engagement.