Viewers watched with tears in their eyes this evening as Harry Byrne was named Young Hero at The Sun’s Who Cares Wins awards.
The inspirational boy has raised more than £95,000 by starting a walk “to the moon and back” in memory of his little brother Reuben.
At just six years old, Harry covered 45 miles in three days – the distance between the two hospices caring for Reuben, who suffered from a rare genetic disorder.
Harry has traveled 16,000 miles.
Proud mum Sophie said: “He really wanted to prove to Reuben that he loved him to the moon and back.
“With the help of his Moonwalkers – family and friends – they faced one challenge after another.
“Harry covered 500 miles in three months. Harry took Reuben on a specially adapted bike for the last mile.
“He also walked to school every day and pushed Reuben in his astronaut outfit.
“Not only did he raise a lot of money, but more importantly he created wonderful memories.
Ruben died in his sleep at the age of two, five days before Christmas 2021.
Sophie said: “Harry climbed into Reuben’s bed like he did every morning and promised him he would climb a mountain in his memory. In April 2022 we completed the Three Peaks Challenge.”
Harry, now nine, was a star of the heartwarming show, which aired on Channel 4.
It took place in north London last week and was sponsored by the National Lottery and in partnership with NHS Charities Together.
Harry was described as “the hero of the night” by TV favorite Denise Van Outen, while Chief Scout Bear Grylls praised him as “a brilliant example to so many”.
After they presented him with his award, Harry dedicated his victory to his brother “Reubear.” He said, “Thank you very much. It’s actually Reuben’s birthday tomorrow.”
Backstage, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak rushed to shake Harry’s hand and said: “What you have done is truly remarkable. It’s an honor to meet you.”
Football-mad Harry, from Larkhill, Wilts, also received a video message from star England player Declan Rice, who told him: “Reuben would be so proud of you.”
The audience at the event was shown a film which told how Reuben’s death was the second loss for parents Sophie, 31, a childminder, and Sean, 36, a Royal Artillery officer.
Their first child, Olivia, died in 2013 at just eight months old, also from the genetic syndrome PIGB.
There are only 20 known cases worldwide and in the video Sophie said they had been assured that “it was unlikely that lightning would strike twice”.
Healthy Harry was born in 2014. Two years ago the couple had Felix, also free of the disease.
Sophie said: “Harry saw first-hand the work of the amazing NHS and charities and wanted to show his gratitude.”
Harry told the adventurer Bear that his favorite peak was Snowdon in North Wales.
The TV presenter, who climbed Everest in 1998, replied: “I remember doing Snowdon before we left for Everest. I was 22 and it was hard. If you can make it at your age, you have to be extraordinary.”
He added: “But what really sets Harry apart is his heart. A wonderful brother, so determined and a brilliant role model for so many.”
Denise added: “I would try Three Peaks with Harry. But Harry, do I have to train a lot, do I have time?”
The kind-hearted boy then offered to carry her backpack. But the TV star joked: “There’s a lot of make-up in there. You’d probably take one look at it and say, ‘I’m not wearing that’.”
Earlier in the evening, Harry was congratulated by James Cordon and boxer Anthony Joshua, while footballer Troy Deeney offered to send him a signed jersey.
Sophie, who nominated Harry for the award, said her son was the glue that held his family together.
She said: “I don’t know what grief feels like for a nine-year-old. I don’t know how hard it will hit or when.
“But I know that with every joyful step Harry continues to inspire many people. He’s the bravest boy I know.”
An overwhelmed Harry added: “I can’t believe I won, it feels amazing. “This award is for Reuben.”
- Donations can be made to Harry’s fund Here