Prince Harry's charity is helping redesign the boy's backyard so he can enjoy it with his siblings

By Simon Perry
July 07, 2017 06:45 AM

Prince Harry made a very special house call on Friday.

Harry, 32, visited the home of a 5-year-old boy in northern England who is receiving a garden makeover from Helping Hands, which is supported by Harry’s charity WellChild. The organization aids families and caretakers of seriously ill kids.

The prince posed for smiling photos with little Oliver Rooney and his four young brothers as volunteers worked to transformer his family’s backyard into an outdoor space he can safely use and enjoy with his siblings.

The project will allow him to develop his physical skills and encourage independence. It is the charity’s 300th project.

Nigel Roddis/Getty Images
Nigel Roddis/Getty Images
Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Oliver has Wolf Hirschhorn Syndrome, a rare chromosome disorder that causes him to have profound and complex needs.

As Harry and Oliver sat in the garden to see the makeover, his mother Elizabeth McOmish-Rooney told the royal that her son was not previously able to go in the backyard without constant close supervision and could not play with his brothers, Samuel, 9, Joseph, 8, Thomas, 6, and his twin Jak.

McOmish-Rooney, 44, said the visit was “something we’ll talk about forever.”

She called Harry “a lovely man.”

Nigel Roddis/Getty Images
Nigel Roddis/Getty Images
Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

“The way he interacted with the boys was fantastic and he put us all at ease,” she said.

For his part, Harry said McOmish-Rooney “is a superwoman.”

As the prince sat with the boys on their backyard deck, he pretended he was going to give them a lesson, as they were missing school that day.

“Today’s class, today’s class is not math, I can tell you that right now,” he said, laughing.

And when the sports-loving royal found out that the boys weren’t big fans of rugby, he said: “Hang on. Are you not rugby league fans? Somehow, we’re going to have to get you into rugby as well. Because I could imagine you all being in a rugby league team together.”

Before he left, he high-fived each boy and said: “So you look after your mom and look after your brother.”

Oliver’s mom explained how the garden would help the family.

“It’s going to give us a space all the family can use. Previously, Oliver has had to be kept away from the other boys because of the condition of the garden at the bottom; now we’re all going to be able to play together,” she told reporters.

“With a family of five boys, that’s really important and important for Oliver too.”

Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Harry, who is on a two-day visit to Leeds, has been patron of WellChild since 2007 and helps host the annual awards set up by the charity to honor the tireless work carried out on behalf of children.

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After his visit with the little boy and his family, Harry will head to to Leeds Children’s Hospital, where he will meet WellChild nurse Helen Tooby, who cares for children with tracheostomies and helps families of those children gain the confidence they need to support them at home.

Last month, Harry hosted a party at Buckingham Palace for WellChild to reward those caretakers who look after sick children.