Perrie Edwards’ celebrity lifestyle may seem worlds away from rural Dorset.
But the Cannonball and Wings singer, named after Steve Perry from rock band Journey, spent her younger days attending Radipole Primary School in Weymouth.
She honed her dance moves at June Hornby’s Weymouth Dance Studio – mastering tap and ballet at the Derby Street studio.
Since Perrie first took to the X Factor stage in 2011 as part of Rhythmix – as Little Mix were originally known on the show – support from the Weymouth community has been strong.
Her aunt and cousins, who still live in Weymouth, and the Radipole school community voted to keep Perrie and the band in the competition each week.
Perrie auditioned for X Factor as a solo singer but was asked to form a group with three other hopefuls – Jade Thirlwall, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jesy Nelson.
Little Mix went on to become the first girl band – and group – to win the ITV singing show.
They are now on their biggest UK tour to date after touring the US with Demi Lovato and have just released their second album Salute.
Radipole headteacher Veronique Singer said: “There are a few members of staff still here who were at the school when Perrie was here.
“Some people have got photos of when she was here in reception.”
Perrie’s mum Debbie Dufty said: “We used to live in Dorchester Road and Perrie and her brother Jonnie went to Radipole Primary School, they both went to Whizz Kids activity club at the United Reform Church.
“I had to move back to South Shields as I couldn’t get a job in Weymouth but all my family are still there and we visit regularly.”
Perrie said: “I loved living in Weymouth. I would go on the beach with my mum and grandfather and cousins and mum would bury us in the sand and make us into sand mermaids and stuff.”
Perrie is a regular visitor to Weymouth for the resort’s famed New Year costumed celebrations.
She dressed as a rocker to welcome in 2012 in Weymouth and more recently brought Zayn to town to see in 2014.
She said: “I love Weymouth and like to come down as often as I can. I have friends there and like spending time there. And I always get recognised. Although I spent more time in South Shields I can walk round and no one knows who I am, but in Weymouth people are always coming up to say hello.”
The pop star has taken time out from performing to visit a community farm near Dorchester which her cousin attends and which helps people with learning difficulties.
Zayn has added to his collection of tattoos in Weymouth by getting two ink designs at Tattoo Magic in King Street.
Last year tattooist Paul O’Connor gave the One Direction heartthrob a wolf and feathers design stretching the length of his lower left leg, with Perrie watching on. He also got one on his arm.
The pair called upon Weymouth cake company Arty Party Cakes when it was time to celebrate Zayn’s 21st birthday and Perrie’s 20th birthday.
They could be now making a more permanent link with Dorset. Perrie’s mum Debbie has recently been bought a £250,000 house by Zayn so the couple will always have a home from home whenever they want to spend more time in the county.
- Little Mix play the BIC on June 4