A boy in Twickenham has been using a robot to take his place at school while he has cancer treatment.

Howard Thomas, 12, a student at Turing House School, was diagnosed last December with a rare type of cancer and has been managing his education with the help of an AV1 robot.

Intending to help Howard keep up with lessons or activities when he is at hospital or at home, the AV1 robot has been nicknamed 'AV Howard' by other pupils.

Dressing up the robot with a school tie, Howard's peers move it around classrooms, ensuring he remains an integrated part of their school community.

The robot, functioning as an avatar, allows communication with Howard through video link.

Equipped with a camera and speaker, Howard can understand lessons, read textbooks, participate in activities and join conversations, even from his hospital bed or home.

A significant feature is its ability to show emotions through colour codes - a blue light on the robot's head signals Howard isn't feeling well, or just wants to sit and listen.

The 12-year-old said: "The AV1 has been incredible!

"It's helped me to participate in class when I’m not well enough to be there.

"I have been able to keep up from an educational standpoint, so I don’t feel like I am falling behind."

His mother, Hermoine Thomas, said how stressful it was for son to not be able to join in at school.

She said: "Howard is a high achiever and it stressed him out not being able to go to school, so the robot has been wonderful.

"He can discuss a worksheet with the other pupils and its sociable; the other pupils wave goodbye to him at the end of a lesson.

"Howard will have the robot until he is ready to go back to school full-time."

The AV1 has enabled him to join in socially, helping him understand his lessons in real-time and discuss his work with his classmates.

The opportunity of receiving this robot came about when the Thomas family got in touch with Momentum Children's Charity.

The charity, helping children and families affected by cancer or life-challenging conditions, helped the Thomas family to apply to the Chartwell Children’s Cancer Trust for the AV1 robot.

While Howard can attend school on a part-time basis, the side effects of his intensive chemotherapy sessions have often kept him away.

Until he is ready to resume school in full time, Howard will be granted the assistance of AV Howard, thanks to Momentum.

The charity supports families across London, Surrey, Sussex and partners with hospitals to provide tailored support.

This includes counselling services, creative therapies, special experiences, and respite breaks.

Momentum, founded in 2004, is entirely dependent on voluntary support, and now helps around 300 children undergoing treatment and 140 bereaved families each year.

Anyone interested in knowing more about Momentum's projects, or who wants to help out through donations, volunteering, or attending an event can visit www.momentumcharity.org.