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Hero's welcome for Joe McElderry in home town as Xmas No 1 battle heats up

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Watching over her grandson as he signed copies of his new single and met admirers was Joe's extremely proud nan Hilda
 Photo: © PA

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Excited fans turned out in droves for the chance to see their idol in the singer's home town of South Shields
 Photo: © PA

17 DECEMBER 2009

Loyal fans of X Factor champ Joe McElderry braved freezing temperatures and rain to give their hero a warm welcome back to his home town of South Shields this week.

A crowd of over 2,000 – many holding banners declaring their love for the 18-year-old Geordie – descended on the record shop where he was signing copies of his new single The Climb.

And there to help was his beloved grandma Hilda, to whom he has pledged to give "a wad of cash" once the money starts coming in.

As Joe got to work promoting his single, news came that his rival for the Christmas number one – Rage Against The Machine's Killing In The Name was ahead on download sales.

Figures yesterday put the American rockers' 1992 hit 60,000 copies in front of Joe's debut single, though the gap was expected to narrow after fans got their hands on the physical CD single, which hit shops on Wednesday.

Rage Against The Machine guitarist told the BBC that the internet campaign to get their song to the top of the charts was not aimed at Joe or X Factor boss Simon Cowell.

"I think people are fed up of being spoon-fed some sugary ballad that sits on top of the charts. It's a little dose of anarchy," he said.

The musician has revealed that some of the proceeds from sales would go to Youth Music, a charity which gives children who wouldn't usually be able to afford it the chance to work with music.

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