A PLUCKY teenager who spends his life permanently attached to a ventilator to help him breathe, and who is unable to walk or talk, has won a prestigious award.
Harry Beattie, from Invergordon, was born prematurely and suffers from cerebral palsy.
But his mum Bev could not be more proud of her “amazing” son who, despite his disability, she described as “the life and soul of the party”.
And now Harry (16) has been named as a winner in this year’s WellChild Awards, and will attend a star-studded ceremony at London’s Lancaster Hotel on October 16.
He was nominated for the award by Bev and the nurses at Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children, which he attends whenever he needs treatment.
Harry was chosen from hundreds of nominees across the UK to win the category of inspirational young person in the awards, which celebrate the courage of children coping with serious illness or complex conditions.
They also aim to honour the dedication of professionals who go the extra mile to help sick children and their families.
The awards are run by WellChild, the national charity for seriously ill children, in association with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Harry will be one of the stars of the show at the high-profile London ceremony, which has been attended over the past few years by many of WellChild’s celebrity supporters, including Royal Patron Prince Harry.
The teenager, who attends Drummond School in Inverness, has had many operations and procedures over the years.
But although he is unable to talk he understands every word and can communicate by shaking his head for no and sticking his tongue out for yes.
Bev said: “Harry is an amazing, happy and selfless boy who makes me feel humble every day over what he goes through.
“He lives life to the full and for us every day is a blessing – he’s a great wee guy. For somebody who doesn’t speak he can certainly get his point across.
“Children like Harry can never really do anything that involves winning, so something like this is just brilliant for him and he so deserves it.
“Through him we have met other amazing children and families along the way, so although we maybe didn’t think we would be on this journey, it’s one I would now choose every time. Harry is a star.” She said Harry’s wicked sense of humour was reflected in his choice of celebrity to attend the London ceremony – comedian Harry Hill.
But although he’s unable to attend on the night, Bev said the two Harrys would get to meet up the day before.
With hundreds of nominations received from across the country, the difficult job of choosing winners goes to a panel of judges.
It consists of leading health professionals and others with an interest in children’s health, and includes children and young people who face serious illness themselves.
WellChild’s director of programmes, Linda Partridge, a panel member, said: “It is a challenge to select winners.
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. Harry truly deserves to be the winner of this award.”
Harry will attend the ceremony in the company of Bev, her husband Paul, big brother Connor (18) and Bev’s friend Fiona.