A 'SPECIAL' youngster who plays a big role in caring for his seriously ill mum has been selected as this year's Solihull Shining Star.
Thomas Jones will be teaming up with SpongeBob Squarepants for the switch-on of Solihull's Christmas lights this Thursday.
Thomas, aged 11, a pupil at Langley Primary School, was nominated by his class teacher Sarah Jones.
"Thomas is a wonderful little boy who has been his mother's carer for the last 3-4 years," said Sarah.
"Sadly his mother has a rare brain disorder called BIH (benign intracranial hypertension) and as a result has had 35 operations.
"Thomas and his two younger sisters, who he also has a big role in caring for, can only see her at weekends. Frequently she is rushed off very suddenly for treatment."
Asked what makes Thomas so special, Sarah said: "In my job as a teacher I meet lots of lovely children who have difficult home lives. Thomas is special because he really doesn’t consider what he does daily as anything special.
"At one point his mother had seizures quite often, which meant it was up to him to take charge and call his grandmother if his mother collapsed - then look after his sisters.
"He helps with things daily like housework yet never complains. He is very bright and mischievous, without an ounce of self-pity or 'why me?' attitude.
"Most days he has a cheeky smile and is shouting out answers - I can guarantee he is the first to volunteer for a job or to help someone with their work.
"As his mother's carer he must miss out on a lot of things but he isn’t the tiniest bit resentful. Summer holidays and days out can’t always happen with his mother's medical situation. His brave mother is obviously hugely proud of him and you can see he thinks the world of her.
"Thomas is a heroic little boy who really doesn’t consider himself a hero at all. He is a child in a million.
"He is also a massive fan of SpongeBob Squarepants and I couldn’t think of a better way to show him how amazing we all consider him at Langley."
* Mell Square Shopping Centre has promised a fun-filled festive evening for all the family on Thursday.
The entertainment extravaganza, hosted by Elliott and Caroline from BRMB, will kick off at 3.45 pm with an appearance from Castle Bromwich Junior School choir.
Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick will be performing live on stage at 4.25 pm and 5.25 pm, with local singer Leah on at 4.50pm.
At 5.40 pm Santa's Christmas procession begins at Drury Lane, featuring a procession of superheroes and villains, including Spider Man, Darth Vader and Batman.
At 6pm, Santa will join SpongeBob and Patrick, the Mayor of Solihull, a Mr Bean lookalike and Thomas Jones, for the countdown to switch on the Christmas lights.
Mell Square will also be launching a special Santa post box on the night, located outside Woolworths until December 11, where children can send their Christmas wish list to Santa.