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South Woodford youngster rocks Wembley stage with X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger

PUBLISHED: 12:41 01 November 2016 | UPDATED: 13:09 01 November 2016

Renee Stafford, middle row far left, with Nicole Scherzinger and members of the Rays of Sunshine Wish Choir. Photo: Adam Duke

Renee Stafford, middle row far left, with Nicole Scherzinger and members of the Rays of Sunshine Wish Choir. Photo: Adam Duke

Adam Duke

A 12-year-old girl with a life-limiting illness has achieved her dream of singing on stage with X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger.

Renee Stafford, right, with Nicole Scherzinger hugging members of the Rays of Sunshine Wish Choir. Photo: Adam DukeRenee Stafford, right, with Nicole Scherzinger hugging members of the Rays of Sunshine Wish Choir. Photo: Adam Duke

Renee Stafford, of Alexander Road, South Woodford, joined the international pop star for a moving rendition of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough in front of 12,000 people at the SSE Arena, Wembley.

The Woodbridge High School pupil and 14 other children from across the UK formed the Rays of Sunshine Wish Choir.

The charity helps youngsters with life-limiting illnesses fulfil their dreams, such as singing with pop stars.

“It was really fun,” said Renee.

“We sang Fight Song too and got to sit through the show after.

“Shawn Mendes was really good, better than I thought he was going to be.”

Nicole Scherzinger said: “It’s an absolute honour to be part of it.”

Renee got involved with Rays of Sunshine after enduring multiple operations and long hospital stays from Hirschprung’s Disease, a rare disorder of the bowels.

She spent a year in hospital after being born and suffers learning difficulties due to seizures she had as a baby.

Despite having short-term memory loss, she does remember songs.

Renee added: “I really like singing, I started when I was young and I also sing in two choirs at school.”

As well as the former Pussycat Dolls star, Shawn Mendes, DNCE and Conor Maynard performed at the concert last week.

Rays of Sunshine chief Jane Sharpe said: “The event was more sensational than we could have ever hoped.

“Looking out onto the audience and seeing so many of our wish families enjoying the show certainly made all the hard work worthwhile.

“We are so grateful to each and every one of the artists for giving up their time to perform and to SSE for supporting the event and making it possible for us to allow so many of our beneficiaries to attend.”


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