When Sol Kitson met the HRH Duchess of Cambridge he took the chance to chat about his favourite subject - football.
The 11-year-old carer visited Mansion House in London as he collected an award after he was highly commended in the Child Champion category of the Place2Be awards.
Sol is amazing at been able to recognise his mum’s emotional state and to be able to step in with what she needs.Ashleigh Sheridan
The former Ribbon School pupil, from Murton, pulled on his old school uniform for the celebration, as he has since moved up to Easington Academy’s Year 7.
He was nominated for the award by teachers at his old school for the help gives mum Julue Burdess, who has bi-polar disorder and anxiety.
The judges of Place2Be, which is a leading children’s mental health charity, said Sol was a worthy winner because he has “self-awareness, empathy, resilience and optimism.”
They said they were delighted he was able to meet the Duchess, chatting to her about football and Sunderland AFC among other subjects.
Ashleigh Sheridan, headteacher of the Ribbon School, said: “Sol has cared for his mum for nearly all of his life.
“Every day is a struggle for them.
“Sol cannot anticipate what each day will bring but he’s always there to do what needs to be done.
“Sol is amazing at being able to recognise his mum’s emotional state and to be able to step in with what she needs.
“He does all of this with compassion and empathy and never complains.
“Julie is incredibly proud of Sol.”
Julie added: “Sol always knows exactly what to say and when to say it.
“When my illness makes things too difficult Sol always has my mum, Margaret Grimes, to go to for help and support, and this keeps Sol safe.”
A spokesman for Place2Be said: “Sol is an inspiration to everyone who knows him, and a credit to himself and his family - we are so very proud of him.”
During his visit to London Sol was given a whistle-stop tour of the capitals landmarks.
In a speech at the awards, the Duchess spoke of her admiration for the work of schools in supporting mental health.
She said: “I have been privileged over recent years to visit a number of schools and to meet the teachers, volunteers, and parents who make Place2Be’s work a reality.
“Together, you ensure your students know they have somewhere to turn, someone who will listen, or simply a safe place to escape.”