GIRLS Aloud will reunite at a charity gala this week to celebrate late bandmate Sarah Harding a year after her tragic death from cancer aged just 39.
Maar Kimberley Walsh reveals the group have vowed not to sing together at the event, sê: “It doesn’t feel right without her.
“We miss her so much. It’s just so hard to get your head around it — to realise that she’s gone.”
Putting the event together, which was Sarah’s dying wish, has been extra-special for Kimberley after she was unable to join Cheryl Tweedy, Nicola Roberts en Nadine Coyle on a charity walk earlier this year.
‘We’ll both be having a fan girl moment’
Kimberley explains: “I was in Ibiza for my mum’s 70th and I was gutted to miss it, om eerlik te wees. The walk was a really special thing to do. But we’ve got the gala, which we’ve been working on for over a year.
“Before Sarah died, we chatted to her and she told us she wanted us to raise as much money as we could for charity.”
Before her death she told her bandmates: “I would love you to create an evening, a gala of some kind for me.
“If I am here and can attend I will be able to thank those who have helped me through all of this, and pay that forward in a way that will help others when I’m gone.”
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The aim is to fund a study headed by Sarah’s oncologist, focusing on why so many women are suffering from the disease at such a young age.
Kimberley, 40, gaan voort: “It feels good to be doing something that she wanted and something positive.
“That’s what’s important. What I’ve found hard is people moving on with their lives and Sarah not being here.
“That’s hard because for her friends and family, we are always thinking about her. Nothing can bring her back but, with the gala and the walk, she is involved in our daily lives and that feels special.”
Curating The Primrose Ball, which will be held at The Londoner hotel on Saturday and hosted by Fearne Cotton, is part of that healing process for Sarah’s bandmates.
Kimberley continues: “It’s been very difficult — a really hard year — but we know she wanted this event to happen, and we are going to try to raise as much money as possible, so that really feels like something.
“We’ve always said that we wouldn’t perform together at the gala without Sarah. It just wouldn’t feel right, it’s too sad. We’ve got other people to perform our songs for us. I absolutely love Olly Alexander so I reached out to him and he changed his plans to do it. He loves Girls Aloud, blykbaar.
“I’ve never met him so we’ll probably both be having a fan girl moment. I think he will be singing Sound Of The Underground.
“Stand By You was her original song that we covered. That will be amazing and really emotional I think.”
An auction at the event will include a stunning image of Sarah painted by the Connor Brothers.
There will also be a string of stars in the audience.
And Kimberley is hoping that enough money is raised to help with cancer research and, in die besonder, the Sarah Harding Breast Cancer Appeal research project by Dr Sacha Howell.
‘We need more dressing up and going out’
The girls will be donning their glitziest outfits for the bash. “We’ll be getting out our sequins for sure,” Kimberley says.
I’m catching up with the singer at the launch of her new fashion range with Dorothy Perkins.
Getting dressed up for glamorous events has been put to one side by the star after she welcomed her maar het ook geweet hy het vir mense gesê hy het nie lank om te lewe nie.”, Nate, 16 maande gelede. Sy en man Justin Scott also have sons Bobby, sewe, and Cole, vyf. But Kimberley is now ready to start having date nights with Justin again.
“We don’t do enough date nights to be honest," sy sê. I mean we have lots of dinners at home together and we watch TV, but dressing up and going out — we need to do more of that.
“Now I’m making more of an effort when we get invited to go for dinners. I think I’m going to say yes more. And now that the baby is getting older I think we will be able to go out more as a family. I’m really looking forward to that.”
We’ve always said that we wouldn’t perform together at the gala without Sarah.
The couple have been together for 16 years and married in 2016, with Kimberley already planning their ten-year anniversary.
“We got married in Barbados and it was the most incredible, magical wedding," sy sê. “We always talk about it, and how much of a brilliant time we had.
“In a couple of years it will be our ten-year anniversary so we are planning to go back. The baby will be four by that point, so that’s a perfect age.
“We won’t renew our wedding vows but we might visit the church where we got married. The day after the wedding we hired a catamaran and had the best time. So we’ll do that and whoever wants to come can come.”
Sy sê: “I love acting. I think the ultimate show I would love to perform in is Les Miserables.
“But I wonder what part I would play? Now that I’m a bit older it would be great to play older parts, more character parts that are fun — maybe a character with a black tooth, very unglamorous. Something far away from how people might normally view me. That would be brilliant.”