Singing star Jade Thirlwall took time out from her busy career to visit a charity back home.
The Little Mix star is back in South Shields to spend Christmas with her family, and the 22-year-old popped by Cancer Connections yesterday to meet the children of some of the families it supports.
X Factor winner Jade, who stars in Little Mix alongside fellow South Shields girl Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson and Leigh-Anne Pinnock, is a patron of the organisation, in Harton Lane, which offers counselling and therapies to cancer patients and their families.
She said: “It’s great to be home for Christmas and I’m just going to spend the time relaxing with my family and going out with my friends to celebrate my birthday on Boxing Day.
“Visiting Cancer Connections is one of the first things I look forward to doing when I come home, especially at Christmas time so I can meet the kids and hopefully make it a little bit more special for them and spread the word about the great work the charity does.”
Little Mix, who won X Factor in 2011, have been enjoying their most successful year yet.
The girls spent three weeks at No1 with single Black Magic, released their third album Get Weird, and travelled the world entertaining their fans.
Jade, from Laygate, said: “It’s been the best year ever and it’s just been really full on, we’ve been all over the world and it hasn’t stopped.
“Black Magic has really taken off everywhere and it was at No1 for three weeks in the UK, it was insane. The support we’ve had from everyone has been amazing and we’re starting to widen our fan base now and get a lot of older fans, which is brilliant.”
Next year will see Little Mix take on their biggest UK tour yet, including three dates at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena.
Jade said: “I’d hoped we’d be able to do more than one show in Newcastle, but I wasn’t sure if we would, but then the first one sold out, and the one we added sold out, and we added another one.
“Newcastle is definitely my favourite place to perform because my family and friends get to come along and the North East has been so supportive since me and the girls first got together on the X Factor. It’s always an emotional one.”
She added: “I never imagined it would be like this. I’d auditioned for X Factor three times and just hoped that it would boost my profile a little bit, but I never expected to win.
“Every single time we achieve something, I’m still amazed by it. I feel really lucky and still get starstruck about the things we do, I don’t think I’ll ever really get used to that.
“We’re going to get back to writing in the new year and start working on more songs. One thing we definitely learned from making our last album was not to rush it.
“We missed three deadlines with Get Weird but it’s our best album yet and we’re so pleased we didn’t rush it.
“I hope next year is going to be just as amazing for us.”