An eight-year-old girl from Croydon who gives vital support to her autistic younger sister has been shortlisted for a national award.

Freya Middleweek's mum Louisa nominated her for one of Contact charity's awards, which help shine a spotlight on the often unseen things siblings do for their disabled brothers and sisters.

She has been invited along with 21 other shortlisted children, her sister Lucy and mum to a special awards ceremony in Westminster on Monday, hosted by Radio 4 Woman's Hour presenter Jane Garvey, where the winners will be announced.

Louisa said: "Freya is an extraordinary big sister to Lucy.

"Freya is constantly supporting and encouraging Lucy, whether it's through having extra patience with her or really making her laugh.

"She really is a wonderful human being and not once has she ever complained or moaned about the fact that sometimes we have to do things differently to her friends’ families.

“Freya was incredibly disappointed that Lucy is unable to attend the same school as her, as Lucy attends a specialist setting.

"Last year Freya entered herself in to the school talent show to sign Makaton to the Christina Perri song A Thousand Years.

"She wanted to show her school friends how her sister communicates through signing and was inspired by the Wouldn’t Change a Thing down syndrome campaign.

"She practised and practised and performed on her own to the whole school.

“Freya has an unending enthusiasm for life and goes to great lengths to ensure that Lucy is happy, making all our lives easier.

"When asked at school what her favourite thing in the world is, she answered 'Lucy'.”

Contact, the charity for families with disabled children, set up the awards to celebrate the countless things UK families do when caring for disabled children.

The sibling category is one of seven award categories.

Amanda Batten, CEO of Contact, said: "At Contact we often hear about when things go wrong for families, such as when they are struggling to get support for their child.

"This isn’t surprising as it’s what we are here for. But it’s important to recognise the things that go right too, and all the positive that come with being a family with a disabled child.

“I was touched to learn about Freya’s story and what a lovely bond she has with her sister Lucy, going the extra mile to make her happy.

"We really can't believe the number of wonderful nominations we have received to Contact’s Awards 2019 - it is going to be really difficult for our judges to shortlist the finalists.”