05/10/2015 20:26 BST | Updated 05/10/2016 06:12 BST

Prince Harry Hails 'Strength Of Human Spirit' At WellChild Awards Ceremony

Prince Harry has paid tribute to the "strength of human spirit" as he recognised children who are battling against serious illness to live normal lives.

Harry joined parents, carers and celebrity supporters at the WellChild awards ceremony in central London to honour their achievements.

Speaking during the event at the London Hilton in Park Lane, he said: "The stories we have heard tonight are moving beyond words. They remind us of the utter insignificance of our everyday worries.

"Yet one of the things that always stands out is the positivity shown by those in the most difficult and testing circumstances.

"It is heartening to hear so many stories of happiness and hope, even through the dark times.

"And that is why we are all here this evening, to show our admiration for all the award winners and to honour their strength of human spirit. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to recognise you all."

Harry is the patron of WellChild, a leading charity dedicated to the needs of sick children and their families, which holds an annual awards ceremony to recognise youngsters battling serious illness and the medical professionals.

The organisation is best known for its nurses who provide specialist medical care and direct support in the home for chronically ill youngsters.

Before the presentations Harry met the winners and their families and one little girl thought the special guest was a clown sculpting balloons.

Nine-year-old Nellie-Mai Evans did not stand on ceremony when she met Harry and was soon playing balloon tennis with the former Army captain.

She hit the black and white animal-shaped toy on to his head and around his face as he chatted to her adoptive father Jeff Evans, 53.

Mr Evans said: ''She thought he was a clown and said, 'could you make a balloon (animal)?'. He replied, 'I would try, but I don't think I could'.''

Nellie-Mai won the Inspirational Young Person Award in the seven-to-10 age group. After having a heart transplant at just 11 months old, she has battled cancer three times and suffers severe fits and behavioural problems after having a stroke in 2009.

Mr Evans said her meeting with the prince came to an abrupt end when she announced: ''It's very nice to meet you but I need to go to the toilet.''

The proud father, a retired detective from Warcop, Cumbria - who was joined at the event by his wife Sarah, 42, and 16-year-old daughter Eloise - said: ''To be here meeting Prince Harry and having a do in my daughter's honour, and everybody else of course, that's fantastic.''