A SHEFFIELD schoolgirl fighting Leukaemia is the envy of her friends after One Direction arranged to meet the plucky youngster ahead of their sold-out City Hall gig.
Britain’s top boy band then put on a show for 2,000 screaming fans.
SLIDE SHOW: Press the play button to view a slide show of 1D’s Sheffield City Hall performance taken by photographer Glenn Ashley.
Ellie Thompson, aged nine, from Jordanthorpe, was unable to stop smiling after her pop idols made her dream come true and arranged to spend time with her backstage while the rest of their fans waited excitedly in their seats for the boys to kick-off their concert.
Doncaster-born Louis, who grew up in Bawtry, where his family still lives, agreed to the meeting with the rest of his band after Ellie’s friends and family turned to Twitter to urge One Direction to meet the brave schoolgirl, who is mid way through a two-year chemotherapy treatment programme.
Coronation Street’s Kym Marsh, cricketing legend Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff, comedian Les Dennis, TV presenter Lorraine Kelly and Dancing on Ice winner Hayley Tamaddon were among those who backed the campaign.
Ellie was at the gig with her friend Megan Armitage, 13, of Handsworth, who is also battling Leukaemia, after the friends met while having gruelling chemotherapy treatment at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Her best friend from school, Courtney Voyse, 10, of Gleadless, was also with her and got to meet the pop stars as a special treat.
Starstruck Ellie, who was diagnosed with Leukaemia in February last year, gasped and shrieked in delight with her friends when the trio were introduced to their pop idols before they took to the stage to wow the rest of their devoted fans.
They had photographs taken with the boys and were given their autographs while the down-to-earth stars chatted to the youngsters. Ellie’s mum Lindsey, 32, said the girls were overwhelmed to have met the band.
“I can’t thank them enough for taking the time to meet the girls - after everything Ellie and Megan have been through it was a dream come true for them and something we will all treasure forever,” she said.
“They were so excited beforehand - Ellie couldn’t sleep. All her friends at school gave her their numbers to pass on to the boys!”
Sheffield City Hall was packed with hundreds of excited young girls and teenagers for 1D’s first headline gig in South Yorkshire since the boys rose to fame on The X Factor in 2010.
And there’s only ‘one direction’ Louis, Harry, Liam, Zayn and Niall are going in - and that’s the top of the charts - if their adoring fans in Sheffield were anything to go by last night.
Bursting onto stage to deafening applause and squeals of anticipation 1D kicked off their Up All Night gig on Doncaster-born Louis’ home turf with Na Na Na, with the band performing their opening number in front of a video of the boys having fun on a beach.
With the City Hall awash with neon lights and glow sticks, the atmosphere reached fever pitch in the final few seconds before the band made their grand entrance - soaking up their adulation and proving that you don’t have to win The X Factor to have successful music career.
With their debut single What Makes You Beautiful topping the charts and their album Up All Night the fastest-selling debut album in the UK last year, tickets for their first-ever tour were like gold dust and sold out within minutes.
Mixing their own numbers with crowd-pleasing medleys and cover versions of hits including I Gotta Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas, Torn by Natalie Imbruglia and Use Somebody by Kings of Leon, One Direction treated fans - many of who were experiencing a gig for the first time - to the perfect concert.
It was bright, it was fun, it was extra loud, the boys were cute and their fans lifted the lid off the City Hall with their show of support through the entire gig.
Whatever the ‘X Factor’ is, One Direction have it.