'I thought camp would be more glamorous' says Little Mix star Jade as Return to Kilimanjaro gets tougher

Team Kilimanjaro at the start of the climb. Pic: Chris Jackson/Getty Images.
Team Kilimanjaro at the start of the climb. Pic: Chris Jackson/Getty Images.

Little Mix singer Jade Thirlwall has admitted that her Comic Relief climb of Kilimanjaro is going to be tougher than she thought.

The South Shields pop star is one of nine celebrities who have embarked upon the biggest physical challenge of their lives - scaling Africa's highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

They hope to raise as much money as possible for Comic Relief, with this year's Red Nose Day being held on Friday, March 15.

Like the rest of the group, Jade, 26, is an inexperienced climber, and just three days into the trek she admits it has already been tougher than she thought.

She said: "I'm not gonna lie, I thought it would be a little bit more glamorous, the camping site. It's not going to be that full on. Then we got here, there's nothing glamorous at all.

"To keep us all going I've packed strawberry laces, chocolate buttons obviously... can't go wrong. I brought the lot, brought the works."

Her bandmate Leigh-Anne Pinnock, who is also part of Team Kilimanjaro, added: "There have been a few tears. We've all had tears. We are all out of our comfort zone.

"I love that we are experiencing new things, but it is seriously challenging."

Day one saw them eased in to mountain life, with a steady climb reaching an altitude of 9,383ft, while the second day saw them face heavy rain and harsh winds.

Today, day three, will see the climbers ascend a further 500m above sea level in a single day, and as the altitude increases the difficulty of the challenge before them begins to dawn.

Related: Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall sets off to climb Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief

The other members of the group are Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas, former MP Ed Balls, broadcaster Anita Rani, Love Island’s Dani Dyer, BBC Breakfast's Dan Walker, Pointless host Alexander Armstrong, and NFL star Osi Umenyiora

Balls was treated to a surprise birthday party as he turned 52 during his ascent of the 19,000ft mountain, with his fellow climbers treating him to a singalong and a cake.

The team face a gruelling eight-day trek during which they will endure basic conditions, freezing night-time temperatures and the risk of altitude sickness.

The ascent is being documented for a special one-hour documentary to air on BBC One.

Kilimanjaro: The Return takes place 10 years after the original climb led by Gary Barlow, which raised £1.5million for Comic Relief.

All the money raised will help Comic Relief fund projects both here in the UK and internationally, to help change lives. You can make a donation online HERE.