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Prince Harry gives a speech at the WellChild Awards

Published 16 October 2017

This is my tenth year as WellChild's patron and of course I'm honoured to be here at another awards ceremony celebrating the powerful work of this organisation.

The Duke of Sussex

Good evening everyone.

This is my tenth year as WellChild's patron and of course I'm honoured to be here at another awards ceremony celebrating the powerful work of this organisation; each year, I have the privilege of meeting the children you see before you and spending time with their families and carers.

The winners may be different each year, but their stories are all equally moving and inspirational.

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.

I meet the parents, who are often powerless to change their children's fate, but will do everything they can to make the most of each moment. I see the nurses and clinical staff, who become a lifeline for these families that just want to be at home rather than in hospital.

But what everybody has in common is the sense of grace, positivity and good humour that creates a community of support. Knowing that someone is on your side, understands what you are going through, and will carry you through it, is a lifeline that should not be underestimated.

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.

Over the years, the WellChild Awards has played a huge part in highlighting what these families need, and the support that is desperately needed to meet the ever-increasing demand.

Earlier this year I went to a WellChild project in Leeds. I met Elizabeth – a single, working mother of five young boys, all under the age of 10. Her youngest son Oliver is in need of constant care. I can only imagine how relentless life is for Elizabeth and yet she and her boys were a team! There for each other and there for Oliver. It was amazing to see. WellChild was also there for two days with a team of volunteers to make Elizabeth's home more suitable for Oliver, so that he could enjoy life, safe at home, playing with his brothers. The difference this made was astonishing and highlighted how important it is for children like Oliver to be at home with their families.

Later that day I also met our new WellChild Nurse Helen, at Leeds General Infirmary, as well as the families Helen had been working with. They were all incredibly grateful for the chance to be supported by a WellChild Nurse on their journey from hospital to home – an opportunity which I think every family around the country should have.

People like Elizabeth and Helen are exactly what WellChild is all about. We must all take the time to better understand the unique challenges faced by parents across the country. We must engage with them and listen to what they need.

There are so many people in this room who play such a large part in making life better for vulnerable and isolated children, young people and families. 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. I hope that, like me, you have all been moved to keep supporting WellChild and help us reach more and more of the people that need it so badly.

I would like to end by saying well done again to all of our winners – it was a pleasure to meet you all; keep doing what you're doing as you set an example for others to follow.

Thank you.