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Bravery of Richard House Hospice, Beckton, girl rewarded with Prince Harry meeting

Prince Harry meets with Pooja Deshpande after Well Child awards ceremony in London Prince Harry meets with Pooja Deshpande after Well Child awards ceremony in London

Thursday, September 13, 2012
6:00 AM

Youngster gets a date with Prince Harry

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A brave young girl being cared for by the Richard House will return to school something of a celebrity after meeting with Prince Harry.

Pooja Deshpande, 12, won a national “inspirational child” award at the WellChild awards in Park Lane.

She suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, and has stayed at the Beckton hospice since 2009.

Her proud mother, Shetal Deshpande, said she was “touched” to see her daughter rewarded for her courage.

She said: “It wasn’t until we got to the ceremony that we realised the magnitude of it all - it was a great effort to make the children feel so special.

“Prince Harry stole the show for me, he was so down to earth and easy to talk to. He met each family in turn before the ceremony.”

She was presented with the award by BBC presenter Chris Hollins.

Pooja, from Swiss Cottage, north London, still attends mainstream school despite two hours of heavy physio every morning.

She was nominated by Dr Finella Craig, from the Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Shetal added: “Pooja never looks at the negative side of her condition and has never asked me why she can’t walk like her friends.

“She doesn’t like to be seen as anything other than normal. I am very proud of her and everything she has achieved.”

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