Little Mix star Jade spreads Christmas cheer to kids whose lives have been touched by cancer

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Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall has been spreading Christmas cheer at a cancer charity as she arrived home to spend the holidays in South Shields.

The singer returned to Cancer Connections in Harton Lane on Christmas Eve to hand out gifts, sign autographs, and pose for pictures with children whose families have been affected by the disease.

Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall at Cancer Connections with children at their Christmas party.

Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall at Cancer Connections with children at their Christmas party.

Jade is a patron of the charity along with Dame Margaret Barbour, and Paralympic gold medallist Josef Craig, and has been involved with its work since a young age.

Jade said: "It's lovely to be here - I do it every Christmas Eve.

"It's nice to see all the kids and get to chat to everybody and take some pictures for Cancer Connections.

"It's so nice to be back in Shields, I got the train last night and I nearly cried when I got in and heard a Geordie voice.

Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall at  Cancer Connections with Megan Muir (left) and Emily Mia Hardy.

Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall at Cancer Connections with Megan Muir (left) and Emily Mia Hardy.

"It's really nice to be home to meet family and friends."

Heather Hall brought along grandsons Christopher Connell, seven, and five-year-old Lucas McLernon, who have been supported by Cancer Connections in relation to granddad Lee, 45, who died only weeks ago.

Mrs Hall, 53, said: "They were really excited to come here today.

"They lost their granddad - or Gaga as they called him - a few weeks ago.

Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall at  Cancer Connections with cousins Lucas McLernon (left) and Christopher Connell.

Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall at Cancer Connections with cousins Lucas McLernon (left) and Christopher Connell.

"It is just absolutely amazing what they do for the children here.

"They come here all the time and they love it - they used to come with their Gaga.

"The staff are amazing - they are always there for you."

Cancer nurse Caroline Hardy brought along five-year-old daughter Emily Mia, and god-daughter Megan Muir, eight.

Deborah Roberts manager and co founder of Cancer Connections.

Deborah Roberts manager and co founder of Cancer Connections.

The 36-year-old said the pair are best friends and are big fans of Little Mix.

Mrs Hardy said: "They are absolutely massive fans of Little Mix.

"Megan has already been to see Little Mix and is going again next year and I'm trying to decide whether Emily is old enough.

"Her dad Mark is serving in Afghanistan and was due home for Christmas - but it doesn't look as though he'll make it back in time - and this has taken her mind off that.

"Megan got up at 5am and Emily shortly after.

"They are very excited and haven't even mentioned Santa today - only Jade."

Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall visits Cancer Connections.

Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall visits Cancer Connections.

Chairman Fay Cunningham said: "We are just so proud of Jade, she has been helping out since she was 12 years old.

"We are so proud of our local girl, that she has done so well, and to be doing this on Christmas Eve - she is just something else.

"And the people of South Tyneside support Cancer Connections 100% - it's just overwhelming."

Manager Deborah Roberts said: "It's so lovely to have her hear.

"She only got home last night and she's only home a week, and she spends so much time helping out with the children.

"It's lovely to have a patron that's so hands-on.

"She's been with us from day one raising money.

"She used to do all our charity shows since she was a bairn.

"As soon as she won the X-factor, she asked if she could be a patron.

"It's lovely that she puts back into the community.

"You see what it does for the kids especially at Christmas - some have just lost people and others are going through it - they will never forget something like this."

Fay Cunningham - chairman of Cancer Connections.

Fay Cunningham - chairman of Cancer Connections.