SUPPORT is growing for Zoe Birkett's campaign to become the UK's latest pop idol.

Fans of the Darlington teenager have inundated The Northern Echo with messages of support as she goes into the next round of the Pop Idol competition on Saturday.

Her father, John Birkett, called to thank The Northern Echo for backing his daughter.

Mr Birkett, 40, a DJ from Consett, County Durham, said: "Zoe has been brilliant but she has taken it all in her stride. Her little sister, Leah, who is five, loves watching her sister on TV. She idolises her.

"Zoe has got a good chance of winning. She is getting closer and closer.

"I'd like to thank everyone in the region for all their support and to The Northern Echo. Everyone seems to be right behind her."

On Saturday, Zoe will try to wow viewers again to get them to vote for her.

The singer with the least votes on the night will end their Pop Idol dream, but the remaining eight go onto the next round.

Among callers to The Northern Echo was friend of the Birkett family, Dennis Hockin, of Darlington.

He said: "We have known her a long time and it's nice to see someone from the town doing so well.

"I'm pleased to see so many people, including The Northern Echo, supporting her and hope she will now get some real backing."

Messages of support can be phoned in to The Northern Echo on (01325) 505071.

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