Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 09.36.22NORTH EAST legend Jimmy Nail surprised staff at a Tyneside charity café by paying them a special visit and hailing their tea ‘the best he’s ever had’.

The Benton-born singer-songwriter and actor made a stop at Smile For Life’s Café Beam in Ashburton Road, Gosforth, after hearing about the fantastic venture from a friend.

The café was set up last year to give hands-on work experience to young people with learning difficulties and disabilities and has proven to be a huge success.

And Jimmy, who shot to fame in 1983 starring in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, was a welcome guest to the shocked charity staff and students.

The 61-year-old Crocodile Shoes singer chatted to ID Training College student Carl Smith who served him tea.

Jimmy told Carl: “This is the best cup of tea I have ever had. Thank you very much.”

Paula Gascoigne, Chief Executive of Smile For Life Children’s Charity, was in Café Beam when the star arrived.

She said: “I couldn’t believe it when he walked through the door, I thought ‘he looks like Jimmy Nail!’ and it was.

“He came in with a regular customer of Café Beam who had told him all about the charity and the work we do in the North East.

“We are a small regional charity so for someone so well-known to have heard about us and want to come and visit us is just incredible, it just shows that we are really making a difference here and that people are talking about us.”

Geordie Jimmy, whose musical career saw him reach no.1 in the charts in 1992 with Ain’t No Doubt, learned more about Smile For Life’s work providing specialist equipment, therapeutic activities, short breaks and challenge days to disadvantaged youngsters in the region.

Paula added: “He really liked the café and I told him all about the work of the charity while he sat and had a cuppa with his friend. He asked to come upstairs to our office too and used the loo!

“He told our student volunteer Carl that it was the best cup of tea he had ever had and that is just fantastic. It was really nice of him to spare the time to come and visit us and we hope that he comes again.”

For more information on Smile For Life or Café Beam go to wwwsmileforlife.org.uk or 0191 2844166.