PRINCE Harry met a South Yorkshire schoolboy who was crowned the winner of a prestigious award recognising the bravery and courage of children as well as those who go the extra mile for others.
Ryan Skidmore, aged 14, from Bolton on Dearne, won the ‘Most Caring Person’ category in the WellChild Awards and met the prince, who is the charity’s patron, at a special ceremony in London.
The Royal guest posed for photographs with Ryan and met the teenager’s sister Lilly Mae, who is nearly six, and who he helps look after.
Ryan, a pupil at St Pius School, Wath, was nominated for the award by family friend Louise Harper, for the way he helps his parents look after young Lilly Mae.
She was born with a rare syndrome which has left her with serious health problems including hypermobility, a low immune system, epilepsy, asthma and other respiratory problems, brain damage, scarring to the brain, heart problems and autism.
Louise nominated the teenager for the way he helps with feeding and dressing his sister, cooking, bathing, changing and cleaning.
In her nomination, she said: “Ryan helps his parents look after Lilly and even gives his mum time in bed to catch up on sleep and brings breakfast in bed. Ryan will help out so much as he loves his sister so much.
“He truly deserves recognition for what he does for Lilly.”
Ryan’s mum Vikky said: “He is brilliant with the way he helps with Lilly.
“Both me and his dad have our own health problems so he makes a huge difference with his help. We are really proud of him.
“Prince Harry was lovely with us - really down to earth. He made us all feel at ease.”
WellChild’s Director of Programmes, Linda Partridge, said: “It is a tremendous challenge to select winners from the many truly amazing nominations we receive from all over the country.
“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 sick children. Ryan truly deserves to be the winner.
“The awards are a perfect demonstration of WellChild’s commitment to helping as many seriously ill children and their families as we can through our programmes of care, support and research, and embody our aim of raising awareness of the needs of people too often overlooked.”
Ryan mingled at the awards with rock legend Rod Stewart, footballer Jermain Defoe, pop singer Pixie Lott, actress Barbara Windsor, pop band Scouting for Girls and Dragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne.