THREE Great Ayton girls enjoyed the thrill of a lifetime - purely by chance.

It happened when two of the girls, 16-year-old Sarah Beeforth, of Guisborough Road, and Lucy Smith, 14, of Skottowe Drive, accompanied by their dancing school teacher, Margaret Connelly, were walking through Covent Garden on a shopping trip to London during the half-term holiday.

They were approached by a show business casting director who said: "You are just the girls I am looking for. Will you take part in a video shoot for Gareth Gates' latest CD?"

They could not believe their ears that they would get a chance to meet the teenage heartthrob and Pop Idol runner-up.

They immediately phoned their homes as the shoot was on the next day.

On arriving home, they found their mothers had made arrangements to accompany them to London to give them the chance of a lifetime, together with Sarah's younger sister, 11-year-old Grace, also a pop fan.

During the three-hour recording session, they acted in a crowd scene, welcoming Gareth in teenage fashion and following him about as he sang to them. He mixed with all the girls in the shoot, spoke to them and signed posters they had been given to commemorate the day. They also had photographs taken with their idol.

The tune he was singing was What My Heart Wants to Say, a single which no doubt will hit the charts after its release in one or two weeks' time. It is also on Gareth's debut album, which was released on October 28.

Part of the shoot was on television on Saturday morning, which showed two of the girls, and they no doubt will be watching out for longer snatches of it.

All three girls attended Marwood and Roseberry schools at Great Ayton and are now at Stokesley School.

They are keen members of the Bradley School of Dance in Great Ayton.