Martham pupil from Stalham meets chart topping boy band One Direction after undergoing heart transplant

A brave north Norfolk teenager who underwent a heart transplant to combat a condition she has suffered from birth has been granted her greatest wish after meeting her favourite pop stars.

Ella Tovell was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy at three months old - a condition that weakens and enlarges the heart leaving it unable to pump blood efficiently - and underwent a transplant around six months ago.

The 15-year-old from Stalham is still dealing with the aftermath of the operation with courses of medication and regular blood tests, but was given a boost this month when she was whisked to London to meet chart toppers One Direction, after applying to children's charity Rays of Sunshine.

The group grants wishes for youngsters aged between three and 18 suffering from serious and life limiting conditions, and arranged a one-on-one meeting between Ella and her family with each of the five band members.

She along with dad Martin, mum Lisa and younger sister Chloe, 12, were also treated to an overnight stay in a London hotel, a limo ride and lunch at Planet Hollywood during their two days in the capital last week.

Ella, a pupil at Flegg High School in Martham - where she used to live before moving to north Norfolk - said she was 'over the moon' after meeting the band, who launched a hugely successful career after coming third in 2010's X Factor competition.

Ella said: 'As we sat down and they came out I was in complete shock and as the first member (Harry) came to sit at our table I was really excited and nervous because I didn't know how I was going to talk to him.

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'But after a minute or so it seemed like I'd known them forever. They were all so easy to talk to and they were all funny, kind, sweet and down to earth boys and I couldn't have asked for a better wish!

'When we got picked up in the limo it was like another wish all over again as I'd always wanted to go in a limo, and the meal at Planet Hollywood was delicious,' she added. 'When the time came to catch the train home I was sad it was over but completely over the moon that it actually happened. It made all the pain I went through for my transplant completely worthwhile.

'It was also a brilliant opportunity for my younger sister Chloe as One Direction are her favourite band ever. And it was a lovely thing for her to do after struggling through my transplant alongside me.'

Mr Tovell said since her operation Ella was doing well but was still dealing with the ramifications of the surgery as she adjusted to her new heart.

But this has not stopped the charitable teenager, supported by willing helpers, to raise �2,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital - where she underwent the operation - and she has now vowed to raise funds for Rays of Sunshine.

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