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Kimberley Walsh reveals how Girls Aloud will mark their 20th anniversary

(Isabel Infantes/PA)
(Isabel Infantes/PA)

Kimberley Walsh has said Girls Aloud will mark the 20th anniversary of the girl band privately after a “tough year” following the death of Sarah Harding.

Harding died in September aged 39 after revealing in August 2020 that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, which had spread to other parts of her body.

Bandmate Walsh said she was “proud” of what the pop group achieved during their time together but it would not “feel right” to celebrate the anniversary.

Sarah Harding death
Girls Aloud (Ian West/PA)

She told the PA news agency: “I don’t think we’ve got any plans to mark it, obviously it’s been a tough year for us losing Sarah.

“The main thing is that we can just spend a bit of time together and reminisce on the good times, but it definitely doesn’t really feel right to celebrate it in any way, to be honest.”

Girls Aloud – consisting of Cheryl, Nicola Roberts, Nadine Coyle, Harding and Walsh – were formed on TV show Popstars: The Rivals in 2002.

They produced five studio albums, including the hit tracks Sound Of The Underground and The Promise, before they disbanded in 2013.

The 40-year-old singer admitted she found it “hard to believe” it had been 20 years since the group was created.

Sarah Harding death
Sarah Harding (Ian West/PA)

She added: “That just seems like an age, but then at the same time, it does feel a long time ago, it feels almost like a different world.

“I just feel proud of what we achieved and grateful to still be doing a job that I love and still be in the industry in different ways, because it’s all obviously thanks to Girls Aloud and the grounding and the opportunities that has given me.”

Walsh went on to have a successful career on the stage, starring in a West End production of Shrek as Princess Fiona, as well as featuring in musical adaptions of Elf, Big and Sleepless In Seattle.

The singer turned actress told PA her time in the girl band helped her with intense theatre schedules.

She said: “Going into the West End at the age of 30 and doing quite a gruelling schedule of eight shows a week, in a weird way, Girls Aloud prepared me quite well for that because you get used to just powering through, grafting, working all hours. They all cross over in their own ways.”

Walsh said theatre has always been her “first love” as she grew up doing musical theatre as a child in local productions, so she felt greatly affected by how the industry suffered during the pandemic.

“It’s been difficult. To see all those theatres dark was quite harrowing during the early days of lockdown,” she added.

“Obviously I’ve got so many friends, from performers to techies, backstage, stagehands, that were all just out of work, having to just get like delivery jobs and just find a way through the pandemic.

“So I feel like it’s so important right now, now that things have opened up, to just try to encourage people to go back to their local theatres and support.”

The singer is supporting the Love Your Local Theatre campaign launched by UK Theatre to encourage the public to attend shows at their local venues to help them recover from the impact of Covid.

More than 100 theatres across the UK have joined the campaign which is offering two-for-one tickets for a range of shows during the month of March.

Tickets are available from the Love Your Local Theatre website.

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