'Best day ever' for award-winner who 'man hugged' Prince Edward

Fred Hood completed his gold DofE and attended Buckingham Palace where he gave Prince Edward a "man hug". Fred with his

Fred Hood completed his gold DofE and attended Buckingham Palace where he gave Prince Edward a "man hug". Fred with his friend and Project 21 founder Alex Munn - Credit: Helen Hood

A Suffolk man enjoyed "the best day ever" at Buckingham Palace as he was given his gold Duke of Edinburgh award - and even gave Prince Edward a "man hug".

Fred Hood, from Felixstowe, was invited to the palace for the first award ceremony for two years after completing the gold DofE award through Priory School, Realise Futures, Project 21 and Old Felixstowe Parish.

The 22-year-old, who has Down's Syndrome, said: "It was good, such a celebration. It was wet though because it rained a lot."

Fred with Priory School head teacher Lawrence Chapman.

Fred with Priory School head teacher Lawrence Chapman. - Credit: Helen Hood

Fred decided to take Project 21 founder and friend Alex Munn to the awards with him. 

Project 21 is a charity that runs innovative events and activities for people with Down's Syndrome.

The award ceremony was attended by 6,000 people and by Prince Edward, who gave a speech

Guests were treated to a cake and cup of tea at the ceremony, where Fred was able to charm his way to get four cakes

Guests were treated to a cake and cup of tea at the ceremony, where Fred was able to charm his way to get four cakes - Credit: Helen Hood

Fred's mum Helen said: "Fred somehow managed to sit in the guest of honour seat, we are not quite sure how he managed that, probably charming the pants off everybody as always.

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"When Prince Edward had finished his speech, he said he would like to say hello to a few people but obviously there were so many people there, he couldn't possibly meet everybody.

"At which point, Freddie decided he would jump up and shout Prince Edward, and then ran over to him and cuddled him, which I don't think is Royal protocol."

Prince Edward meeting Fred

Prince Edward meeting Fred - Credit: Helen Hood

Freddie and his friends were doing the Duke of Edinburgh award when Prince Philip died, which upset Freddie and his friends, so upon meeting Prince Edward, Freddie said: "I am sorry your dad died."

Freddie then spoke to him about where he lived, and even asked the Queen's son to attend Otley College's school fete.

In order to complete his award, he had to do multiple things including map reading, camping and cleaning which helped with his 75km trip down the River Wye in a canoe, and volunteering at his local church, Old Felixstowe Parish, where his dad Chris is the vicar, helping with the collection, PowerPoint presentations and tidying all the books.

Alex Munn and Fred Hood

Alex Munn and Fred Hood - Credit: Helen Hood

Fred said: "I really enjoyed the teamwork and learning new skills through the DofE scheme.

"My experience at Buckingham Palace was amazing, and the thing I will remember most about that day is giving Prince Edward a man hug."