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September 12, 2002
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Prince Harry proved himself a worthy ambassador for his mother’s work with the sick and needy on Thursday, when he made his first solo official outing to a project for homeless young people funded by Comic Relief.

Harry, who turns 18 on Sunday, was greeted by former Radio One DJ and Comic Relief ambassador Zoe Ball as he arrived at the centre in south London. Kids Company, which is based under six railway bridges in Camberwell, was set up in 1996 as a haven for vulnerable children whose parents are unable to look after them. The centre provides the needy youngsters with hot food, bedding and, most importantly, someone to talk to.

The Prince’s visit is part of his wish to be associated with charitable causes as a tribute to his mother Princess Diana. Sources at St James’s Palace say he was upset that much of the coverage of the fifth anniversary of her death last month revolved around tawdry revelations made in a book by her former bodyguard.

A royal source said: “With the encouragement and blessing of Prince Charles, Harry wants to work with charities which were closely associated with his mother. It has come from within and is something he wants to do to make sure people remember all his mother did for so many organisations. Her memory is obviously very important for him.”

The Prince also took time out to meet young offenders taking part in West Ham United’s young offenders scheme. Harry, an avid fan of West Ham’s premiership rivals Arsenal, looked smart and happy as he arrived at the East End club’s grounds accompanied by his father’s former equerry, Mark Dyer.

The day came to a close with a visit to Great Ormond Street Hospital, which was one of the causes closest to his mother’s heart. When Diana gave up most of her charitable commitments in 1996, one of the few roles she maintained was the presidency of the hospital.

The first set of official photographs of the young Prince, by his mother’s favourite photographer Mario Testino, are expected to be released on Friday.

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Harry was given the day off school at Eton so he could make his first solo official visit, which the young Prince had chosen personally to reflect causes close to his late mother's heart

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