Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall made a surprise appearance in her hometown as she paid tribute to a lost friend.
The 23-year-old pop star took part in a tribute show for Nadia Wearn at the Customs House, in South Shields, last night.
A Night For Nadia was organised by the talented performer’s sister, Natalie Elleithy, to mark five years since her tragic death and to raise money for her biggest love – the theatre.
Jade joined a host of Nadia’s friends and family members on stage at the Mill Dam venue to perform snippets from shows she’d worked on and songs she loved.
Jade, who stars in Little Mix alongside fellow South Shields lass Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson and Leigh-Anne Pinnock, said: “It was amazing. I was so grateful that I had the chance to be part of it. Getting back together with the people I used to do shows with to do this was really special.
“We were all friends with Nadia. I was still quite young when she died and I used to look up to her and I learned a lot from her. She’s really special to me and to everyone else.
“We’re all really proud of Natalie for putting on an amazing show. She did Nadia really proud.”
Natalie added: “I did plan it for a long time so for it all to come together was pretty surreal. The way people made so much effort and put so much into it was really touching for me and quite overwhelming.
“There’s still so much love for Nadia and it shows how well-loved she was. The night went down a storm. It was really well attended and all the feedback I’ve had on Facebook so far has been great, people are saying it was a wonderful tribute.
“Everyone did her proud and obviously it was fantastic to have Jade there. Nadia thought a lot of Jade so it was great to have her there.”
Nadia died in 2011 at the age of 31 after suddenly collapsing at her home in Coleridge Avenue, South Shields.
She left behind a husband Jason and a 14-week-old baby Ava.
Nadia was a talented dancer and choreographer, whose family said her zest for life knew no bounds.
She was a well-known performer in the region, regularly starring in and working behind the scenes on stage shows.
A Night For Nadia raised funds for the Customs House.
The venue’s executive director, Ray Spencer, added: “It was a really special evening. To have musical talent from John Miles through to Jade Thirlwall and everything in between was fantastic.
“In a world where 15 minutes of fame counts for so much, it was great to see, five years after Nadia’s death, so many people coming together to celebrate her talents.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved, particularly Nadia’s family, for donating the box office from the show to help our work with children and young people in the borough. It is a fitting tribute to Nadia.”