Prince Harry and a seriously ill little boy shared a heartwarming moment at a ceremony recognizing inspirational children this week. Though five-year-old Ollie Carroll suffers from the rare Batten disease, which is decreasing his mobility and will eventually render his muscles unusable, he managed to get to his feet and fling his arms around the prince when the two came face to face.
Ollie, from Poynton, Cheshire, was the recipient of the inspirational child award for children between four and six at the WellChild Awards – a charity of which Harry is patron. His mother Lucy said she was not sure whether he knew who he was hugging or not, but said Ollie had been instinctively drawn to Harry, leaving his arms wrapped around his neck for several seconds.
"He was thrilled – they both were," Lucy said. "He (Harry) is very privileged because Ollie cannot stand up by himself and he used his strength to stand up and hug him."
Several hundred youngsters, parents, carers and celebrity supporters attended the WellChild Awards, held at London's Dorchester hotel. Before the ceremony got underway, Harry spent time mingling with all the winners – and revealed to one girl that his brother, Prince William, was "embarrassing all the time".
Jessica Davis, 10, was receiving the Young Hero award for caring for her mother Paula, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, and her autistic brother, also called William. She presented 32-year-old Harry with a drawing of himself and told him that her brother was "really embarrassing".
She said: "He then said that Prince William was embarrassing all the time."
Prince Harry also received a monkey made by eight-year-old Samuel Merrick, who has lung disease. Meanwhile, three-year-old Oscar, whose mother Jill Evans was one of the winners of the special recognition award, took the opportunity to ask the down-to-earth royal whether he had "any giraffes in his garden".
Harry said that the evening had left him "in awe at the strength of human character, particularly amongst those so young".
"Watching these children and young people face challenges with such determination, positivity and of course good humour, never fails to take my breath away," he added.