When it comes to bravery and defiance against all the odds, little Harmonie-Rose Allen really takes the cake.
And the seven-year-old with the big heart did just that in style with the help of her hero Ed Sheeran before she was crowned Child of Courage at last night’s Mirror Pride of Britain awards in partnership with TSB.
There were tears as quadruple amputee Harmonie-Rose gasped in surprise when the superstar appeared with a huge pink unicorn cake at an earlier party for her in London.
He told his speechless superfan – who has raised more than £100,000 for charity doing things doctors said she’d never do – that she was “incredibly special and we want to show you how amazing we think you are”.
Then it was harmonies with Harmonie as they sat together and sang two of her favourite Ed hits – Shivers and Perfect.
The stunned little hero – who lost her legs and arms to meningitis as a baby – said: “I can’t really believe it. When he came out, I was thinking, ‘Is this really him?’ He was really kind and I just loved him.”
Kindness is a quality this astonishing girl – handed her award last night by Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon and Joel Dommett – knows all about, along with courage too.
At just 10 months old, she contracted meningococcal septicaemia which left her in a critical condition with just a 10% chance of survival.
Her limbs turned black as the aggressive infection racked her body, with heartbroken mum Freya and dad Ross fearing the worst. Surgeons had no choice but to amputate parts of her arms and legs, as well as the tip of her nose.
But what she had lost in limbs, little Harmonie-Rose, of Bath, more than made up for in pluck.
She battled on through more than 10 operations and faces more treatment on her road to recovery, as she still suffers with hearing difficulties and chronic kidney disease.
But nothing holds kind-hearted Harmonie-Rose back when it comes helping others.
At four, she took her first steps in prosthetic legs and put them through their paces on part of the Bath half marathon, raising £6,450 for the children’s charity Time Is Precious.
Then at six during the first lockdown, she launched her 2.6 Challenge – tackling six things doctors said she’d never do 26 times – running, singing, drawing, swimming, gymnastics and jumping, raising more than £76,000 for Meningitis Now.
Her latest fundraising effort had her scaling a climbing wall 100 times and running 500m for the first time on her new blades to raise £20,000 for an accessible playground.
In March, Harmonie-Rose had her first bionic arm fitted meaning she could hold her mum’s hand for the first time since she was a baby.
She had no idea she was going to meet her hero pop star as she travelled to London with mum Freya, 27, and Ross, 29, and her younger sister Luna, three.
Freya had told her they were going to film a documentary. When they arrived at café EL&N, Harmonie-Rose was thrilled to see it decorated with bright pink balloons, confetti, candy floss and flowers.
Then came the big moment as Ed appeared with the three-tiered cake.
The pair chatted about Harmonie-Rose’s favourite animals over a slice, while the multi-talented star – who released his fourth solo album on Friday – made her balloons in the shape of her favourite poodles and roses.
Ed said: “I think she’s hugely deserving of the Pride of Britain Child of Courage award. She is incredible.”
Freya said: “It was like every little girl’s dream. When Ed came in, Harmonie-Rose was gobsmacked – she didn’t know what to say. It’s not often she’s speechless. I had a tear in my eye.”
Harmonie-Rose said: “I really love Ed Sheeran because he has an amazing singing voice. I sing Ed’s songs all the time in the car. I know all the words.
"I love music a lot because my name’s Harmonie and I just love singing. We sang together on the karaoke – Shivers and Perfect, which is my favourite song. He said I was a better singer than him.
“It was amazing. It was the best day ever.”
Freya added: “We never thought we would see this day, and we want to celebrate every single day that she has defied all the odds.
“She is our little miracle and an inspiration to all of us. She fought to stay here with her family, and for that we are all so grateful.
“She’s this big ball of energy and positivity that shines out to all of us. If I am having a bad day or thinking negatively, I look at her and feel so happy and positive. She’s always been our child of courage – and now she can be everyone’s.”