Prince Harry gave out a few of his world-famous hugs at an event for seriously ill children on Monday.
The prince swapped smiles and embraces as he made his way around the room at the annual WellChild awards, run by the charity of which he is patron. The emotional event honors the inspiring children who live their lives in the face of serious illness.
“All the amazing things that are going to happen in the future, it’s all going to be [kids]. I never want to lose touch with that generation,” Harry told PEOPLE in a cover story last May.
Harry shared a hug with 5-year-old Ollie Carroll of Cheshire, northwest England, who has the rare genetic condition Battens Disease and won the Inspirational Child (age 4-6) category.
He also met Samuel Merrick, 8, who was born prematurely at 26 weeks. The inspiring young boy, who had a bone marrow transplant, has chronic lung disease, an immune deficiency and is fed through a tube and breathes via a ventilator.
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Sam, described by the charity as a “bubbly and enthusiastic young man who inspires those around him,” started Sam’s Haven, which helps children with similar health problems. He won the male inspirational child aged 7-10 award.
And he was excited to see Harry, proudly handing him a soft toy named Mr. Monkey that he made for the royal.
“I’m going to give it to someone else to look after while I walk around, okay?” Harry said following their chat. “Look after yourself.”
Harry also had a humorous moment with Jessica Davis, 10, who helps care for her brother William, who has complex health needs as well as autism and learning difficulties, while her mother has multiple sclerosis.
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Jessica, who won the Good Morning Britain Young Hero award, told Harry her brother could be embarrassing sometimes. Harry’s quick-fire response was that his brother Prince William is embarrassing all the time!
In an emotional speech at the event, Harry said, “Watching these young people face challenges with such determination, positivity and good humour never fails to take my breath away.
“I am so fortunate to have had the chance of meeting you all and so proud to be associated with this fantastic charity.”
“All the panel members are moved by the bravery of the children, the stories of selfless care and support and the dedication of the doctors, nurses, teachers, brothers and sisters who make a great difference to the lives of seriously ill children and young people,” WellChild’s Director of Programs, Linda Partridge, said in a statement.