Little Mix singer Jade Thirlwall makes it to the top of Kilimanjaro in Comic Relief climb

South Shields singer Jade Thirlwall and her fellow celebrities have reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro as they bid to raise money for Comic Relief.

By Gary Welford
Friday, 01 March, 2019, 13:19
Team Kilimanjaro are celebrating after making it to the top of Africa's highest mountain. Pic Chris Jackson/Getty Images.

Charity bosses had been unable to get through to the climbers to check on their progress.

But they have now managed to confirm the stars have braved the tough terrain and high altitudes to conquer Africa's highest mountain.

The summit of Mount Kilimanjaro is in sight for the team in this picture. Pic: Chris Jackson/Getty Images.

Comic Relief tweeted: "Drum roll please... Dan Walker, Osi Umenyiora, Shirley Ballas, Anita Rani, Ed Balls, Dani Dyer, Alexander Armstrong and Little Mix's Jade and Leigh-Anne have done it!"

"They've reached the top of Kilimanjaro. Legend status achieved. Please donate."

Jade's proud mum Norma Thirlwall, who revealed earlier this week that her daughter can't wait to come home for her favourite tea of mince and dumplings, posted on social media of her pride.

She wrote: "Sitting on the train @lner back to Newcastle in the quiet coach, and all I want to do is jump around screaming 'my daughter has just climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for @comicrelief and I’m so bloody proud!' But having to just sit quietly is killing me."

Members of Team Kilimanjaro, including Jade Thirlwall and Little Mix bandmate Leigh-Anne Pinnock, take some time out of the climb for a selfie. Pic Chris Jackson/Getty Images.

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All the celebrities are inexperienced climbers, and their 5,895m (19,340ft) ascent is being documented for a special programme, which will air on BBC One on Wednesday, March 13.

Many of them have suffered altitude sickness during the ascent, including 26-year-old Jade, who reported home on day four of their eight-day climb.

She said: "The last two hours have probably been the hardest. Last night I was really, really sick, vomiting, I felt nauseous, had a bad tummy and a high temperature, I'm not sure if it was a bug or the altitude.

"Been taking tablets, didn’t sleep very well. Got a blister on my toe! It’s just one thing after the other! Woke up this morning, feeling a lot better, everyone’s in good spirits, and it’s all worth it for this amazing cause.”She also helped BBC presenter Dan Walker through his own bout of altitude sickness, singing Toto's Africa to him and feeding him strawberry laces to keep his energy levels up.

Although the final stage of the climb was the most gruelling, Team Kilimanjaro soldiered on in the knowledge that they are raising money for Red Nose Day top help it carry out life-changing work.

Their efforts will help Comic Relief to continue supporting projects - and making people’s tough lives better - in the UK and around the world.

Kilimanjaro: The Return is taking place 10 years after the original climb led by Take That star Gary Barlow, which raised £1.5million for Comic Relief. This year's Red Nose Day is on Friday, March 15.