Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall donates huge clothes haul to South Shields cancer charity

Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall is to give a lifeline charity a huge financial boost after donating a treasure trove of her clothes to sell on for the good cause.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 16th February 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 8:23 am
Little Mix's Jade Thirwall charity clothes sale for Cancer Connections at Empire Clothing From left charity Deborah Roberts, Jade's mother Norma Thirlwall and Empire Kerrie Katopodis
Little Mix's Jade Thirwall charity clothes sale for Cancer Connections at Empire Clothing From left charity Deborah Roberts, Jade's mother Norma Thirlwall and Empire Kerrie Katopodis

The chart-topping pop singer has handed over dresses, shirts, shoes and hats to Kerrie Katopodis, who runs Empire Pre-Loved Dress Agency.

The 43-year-old is now busy cataloguing all of the items before preparing to sell them at the shop.

Little Mix's Jade Thirwall charity clothes sale for Cancer Connections at Empire Clothing From left charity Deborah Roberts, Jade's mother Norma Thirlwall and Empire Kerrie Katopodis

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All proceeds will then go towards Cancer Connections, which supports people and their families who have been affected by the killer illness.

Jade has been a patron of the local charity for a number of years.

Speaking to the Gazette, Jade, who is currently away on tour with Little Mix, said: “I’m delighted to help out Cancer Connections in any way that I can.

“I want to keep on supporting them for as long as possible.”

Little Mix's Jade Thirwall charity clothes sale for Cancer Connections at Empire Clothing From left charity Deborah Roberts, Jade's mother Norma Thirlwall and Empire Kerrie Katopodis

Kerrie said: “What Jade has done is amazing.

“There are probably thousands and thousands of pounds worth of stuff here to sell.

“I’ve collected about 100 photos of her wearing the dresses on catwalks or at premieres or award ceremonies.

“There’s a Topshop dress which she wore to her first event and at the other end of the scale there’s a £5,000 Versace dress too.

Little Mix's Jade Thirwall charity clothes sale for Cancer Connections at Empire Clothing From left charity founder Deborah Roberts, Jade's mother Norma Thirlwall and Empire Kerrie Katopodis

“She’s given us shoes, hats, sports and beach wear too.

“It’s just a huge collection of everything that she has worn over the past five years.”

Jade’s loving mum Norma, who brought the clothes to Empire, says she hopes the sale of the items will provide much-needed support for Cancer Connections.

The Harton Lane-based charity, costs on average £80,000 to run each year.

Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall visits Cancer Connections.

“It runs entirely on donations and fund-raisng and we know it doesn’t get money like some other charities do,” said Norma.

“We lost a family member to cancer recently and saw the great work they do in providing counselling, advice and therapy.

“There really is nowhere else like it in this area.

“Hopefully a lot of her fans are interested in buying the clothes and it brings in a lot of money.

“She’s said the next time she’s got a load of clothes she has no more use for that she’ll pass them on to the shop to sell.”

Jade, 24, has been a patron of the organisation for a number of years, backing numerous fund-raising events, although she had originally been involved with the charity when she was 11.

Little Mix's Jade Thirwall charity clothes sale for Cancer Connections at Empire Clothing

She first auditioned for ITV series the X Factor in 2008 and 2010, but was eliminated at the bootcamp stage.

The former South Tyneside College student then formed Little Mix alongside fellow South Tynesider Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jesy Nelson.

Little Mix remain the only group act to win X Factor and have gone to have a number of number one singles as well as two Brit Award nominations.

The group’s 2016 fourth studio album Glory Days became their first number one album in the UK and was also the longest reigning girl group number one since the Spice Girls’ debut album 20 years ago.

Passing on her gratitude to Jade, Kerrie added: “She is just the most genuine person you could wish to meet.

“I know Cancer Connections is something which is really close to home for Jade and this just shows how much she’s willing to support them.

“Some of the pieces we’re going to sell might only get £15 to £20 but some could go for a couple of thousands I’m sure.

“We’re busy cataloguing everything now and hopefully they’ll go on sale come the end of the week or this weekend.”

Cancer Connections, which also counts Paralympic swimming champion Josef Craig as a patron, was dealt a blow just last month when would-be burglars tried to break into its headquarters.

It came after another incident just before Christmas when a bathroom window was smashed at the site.

Norma added: “I know Jade was mortified by what happened with the break-in.

“As a family we’re all helping and my son Karl is even doing the Great North Run for Cancer Connections later this year.

“Jade’s done the Boxing Day Dip for the charity a few times as well as meet and greets because she just enjoys going there.

“It’s a peaceful place where she can talk to people affected by cancer and support them.”

Deborah Roberts, co-founder of Cancer Connections, said: “We are just so grateful and it’s lovely that Jade is so involved in supporting the charity.

“She’s away in America on tour and yet she’s still found time to donate her old clothes.

“Kerrie deserves praise too because she’s taking a lot of time to sort through all the items.

“They are both helping to keep the charity in this area so that we can be there for people with cancer.

“I’m sure there’s a lot of young girls who can’t wait to buy some of Jade’s old dresses.”

Little Mix's Jade Thirwall charity clothes sale for Cancer Connections at Empire Clothing
Little Mix's Jade Thirwall charity clothes sale for Cancer Connections at Empire Clothing
Little Mix's Jade Thirwall charity clothes sale for Cancer Connections at Empire Clothing
Jade Thirlwall of Little Mix. Pic: PA.
Little Mix's Jade Thirwall charity clothes sale for Cancer Connections at Empire Clothing From left charity Deborah Roberts, Jade's mother Norma Thirlwall and Empire Kerrie Katopodis
Little Mix's Jade Thirwall charity clothes sale for Cancer Connections at Empire Clothing From left charity Deborah Roberts, Jade's mother Norma Thirlwall and Empire Kerrie Katopodis
Little Mix's Jade Thirwall charity clothes sale for Cancer Connections at Empire Clothing From left charity founder Deborah Roberts, Jade's mother Norma Thirlwall and Empire Kerrie Katopodis
Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall visits Cancer Connections.
Little Mix's Jade Thirwall charity clothes sale for Cancer Connections at Empire Clothing
Little Mix's Jade Thirwall charity clothes sale for Cancer Connections at Empire Clothing
Little Mix's Jade Thirwall charity clothes sale for Cancer Connections at Empire Clothing
Little Mix's Jade Thirwall charity clothes sale for Cancer Connections at Empire Clothing
Jade Thirlwall of Little Mix. Pic: PA.