A TALENTED youngster is through to a regional final after having her singing skills honed at a charity centre.
Amelia Stockton-Wilde, who is best known as AJ, is set to travel down to Leeds to take part in Britain Does Variety.
The 11-year-old is dreaming of the chance to sing in front of thousands of people at the 02 Arena, in London, which is the top prize in the national competition.
AJ’s mum, Kirsty Wilde, 32, said the youngster has been singing all her life but started taking her vocal ability more seriously two years ago.
And she puts her daughter’s swift improvements down to help from the charity Red Dreams, which is based in Whitby Street South, and helps young people achieve their goals in creative activities such as singing and writing.
Kirsty said: “She has been going to Red Dreams for six months after meeting people from there while doing a talent show in Hartlepool.
“Red Dreams has been marvellous. Her confidence, her vocal skills and many other things have come along amazingly since she has been there.
“She is very confident and loves to perform.”
AJ had to go down to Leeds for a regional heat and blew a panel of four judges away with the Judy Garland classic Somwehere Over The Rainbow.
Kirsty said: “We got there and her CD wouldn’t work. The judges asked if she could do it without the music and she said yes and was brilliant.
“She’s a little star and really wants to be a professional singer one day.
“But she is still very young and there’s plenty of time for her. This is all about getting the experience and enjoying performing.”
Dawn McManus founded Red Dreams with husband Ian in memory of their talented 16-year-old son Kyle, who died suddenly from a brain haemorrhage.
Dawn said: “AJ is so talent and has a really strong voice.
“We asked her of she wanted to come down and we got her in and started working with a vocal coach and knew we are waiting to get her recorded.
“She has also got the most infectious personality and is really committed to doing something and being someone.”
AJ lives in Roseworth, Stockton, and goes to Our Lady and St Bede RC School, in Bishopton Road West, Stockton.