In the late 70's (perhaps very early 80's) I recall seeing a British movie (geared, I suppose to a younger audience) about a young school boy who happened upon a "magical orb" that had some mysterious powers (essentially it looked like a shiny steel ball-bearing that could sit in the palm of his hand). The boy "befriends" the strange, fascinating object and soon silliness ensues, with a few life-lessons thrown in for good measure.
Now, I seem to remember some misadventures with the orb that land the young boy in trouble with some crooks/local criminal element who then decide they must possess the orb for some reason or another (presumably to further their lawless endeavours).
The young boy tries to hide/protect the orb, and enlists some of his mates (one young girl in particular, if I recall correctly) In the end, the bad guys concoct a devious plan to capture the "ball", but it turns out that the "ball" is actually a benevolent alien life form investigating Earth and calls down it's fellow aliens (who were "waiting" in orbit? I dunno ... ) who then proceed to attack the bad-guys en masse, after which they escape back into space, leaving a tearful farewell for the young boy and his alien friend.
That's pretty much all I can remember ... but I really liked that little film, and it'd be nice to know what it was called, so that I might find it again one day.
Thanks in advance, and apologies on my terrible memory!