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Cancer survivor Charlie realises dream by dancing with Royal Ballet stars

Charlie Tait dances with stars from The Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker Photo: Adrian Brooks / Imagewise/PA

An 11-year-old cancer survivor has achieved her dream of dancing with stars from the Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker.

Charlie Tait, from Sevenoaks, Kent, was diagnosed with a type of kidney cancer called Wilms’ tumour when she was a baby, causing her to have a kidney removed and chemotherapy.

Aged three, Charlie started ballet to help her gain strength and she is now an aspiring ballerina who has danced with the National Youth Ballet and London Children’s Ballet.

Now in her third year as a junior associate at the Royal Ballet School, Charlie learned a sequence and practised a shoulder lift with the Prince (Benjamin Ella) to mark the launch of the Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens Star Awards in partnership with TK Maxx.

The awards celebrate the courage of children diagnosed with cancer.

Charlie, who previously won a Star Award, said: “Watching the ballerinas was really fun. To be in The Nutcracker would be amazing.

“For any other kids going through cancer, I just want them to follow their dreams and when they’re feeling down to hold on to those dreams.”

Royal Ballet first soloist Yuhui Choe, who dances the Sugar Plum Fairy and worked with Charlie, said: “Charlie is super talented. She’s so gifted and to think what she’s been through already.

“She has so much potential and I can’t think of anybody that deserves more than her to win a Star Award.”

Charlie Tait is lifted by Benjamin Ella, who plays the Prince as Yuhui Choe who plays the Sugar Plum Fairy, looks on Credit: Adrian Brooks / Imagewise/PA

Charlie’s mother, Merran Tait, said: “Charlie was what she called ‘nervous-cited’ about meeting the dancers, but seeing her dancing with the ballerinas was just wonderful.

“I remember the day Charlie was diagnosed as if it were yesterday. I’m a doctor myself and when I noticed she had a lump on her abdomen, I just knew it was cancer.

“Charlie never cried, even when she was having needles put in her. She has always been strong, and she always seems to be able to draw on that strength when she needs it – like when she dances on stage.

“We really treasure moments like these.”

To nominate a child to receive a Star Award, or to find out more about Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens, visit cruk.org/kidsandteens