MARY-JESS Leaverland, a winner of the Chinese X Factor, wants to sing the praises of the Door Youth Project after becoming one of its patrons.

The internationally acclaimed 23-year-old vocalist, who grew up in Gloucester and also spent time living in Nailsworth, said she jumped at the chance to become an ambassador for the charity after being asked by the Door's chief executive Brendan Conboy several weeks ago.

Her relationship with the Door first started in 2008 when she won the Christian youth charity's undiscovered talent contest with her rendition of Andrea Bocelli's Time To Say Goodbye.

According to Mary-Jess, who triumphed in the Chinese version of the X Factor while studying in the country at Nanjing University, the experience of winning that competition helped give her the confidence to sing classical music in public.

Speaking on Thursday during a visit to the Door, where she helped youngsters with their singing and song writing, she said she was keen to repay the debt she owed to the charity.

"I am honoured to become a patron. I was coming along and being a judge at the undiscovered talent contests but I was always hoping to do more to support the Door," she said.

"I really did feel honoured to be asked because these guys have done so much for me and they do such a great job."

Mary-Jess' first act in her new role as patron was to run two workshop sessions for around 10 young people at the Door on Friday.

The sessions, which were run on the same day that the singer-songwriter celebrated the two year anniversary of her debut album Shine, were designed to assist the youngsters with their song-writing and vocals.

And they certainly struck a chord with many of the youngsters who said they were inspired by her example and words of advice.

In a question and answer session with the youngsters, she told them: "If you want to be creative and have a go at writing songs don't be afraid to have a go. Just have fun with it."

The Door's chief executive Brandon Conboy said he was 'delighted' when Mary-Jess accepted his offer to represent the charity.

"We wanted a young person to be an ambassador for the Door and the workshops she has done today have been quite inspirational for some of those taking part," he said.

"We are so grateful to Mary-Jess and we are also thankful to Stroud Town Council which helped us put the workshops on by providing funding."