SINGING star Joe McElderry has become the youngest person to ever win a charity accolade from the Variety Club.
South Shields-born Joe, 21, has been given the Silver Heart Tribute, the highest honour given by the Variety Club to recognise the work people carry out for charities.
He collected it in style last night, at a star-studded gala night at the Hilton Hotel to celebrate his career so far and the work he does for good causes, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.
As he was given the award – by Tim Healy and Denise Welch – he revealed his surprise at being picked for the Silver Heart.
He said: “When they first got in touch with me I was quite surprised, I was shocked.
“When I do these charity things, out performing and doing things for my job as well I don’t get time to think, and genuinely do charity work because it’s a nice thing to do.
“I always think it’s really important to use your status, if you have any, for a good cause, and that’s what I’ve always tried to do.
“I’m just surprised that they are giving the award to me, at such a young age. I think I’m the youngest person ever to receive it.”
Some 400 people were at the sell-out night, where The X Factor and Popstar to Operastar winner performed for the guests at the event, organised by the Northern Region of Variety, the Children’s Charity.
In between video tributes from the likes of Alan Shearer and Cliff Richards, the gathered guests heard how Joe has been involved in a whole ream of events and activities for a range of charities.
As well as being North Patron of the Teenage Cancer Trust, he has recently performed at the World Hunger Project concert, later this month he’ll perform at the Sir Bobby Robson birthday celebration night at The Sage Gateshead and this week he has been in Ireland, working with Clic Sergeant, a charity providing accommodation for parents and children being treated away from home.
While he thoroughly enjoyed his time in the limelight last night, he revealed he’s already begun work on his next album.
He added: “This will be the fifth album, so I want to spend a lot of time on it.”
I always think it’s really important to use your status, if you have any, for a good cause