05 September 2021

Highlights from the career of Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding

05 September 2021

Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding has died at the age of 39 after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Here PA looks back at some of the highlights from the chart-topping singer’s career.

– Auditioning for Popstars: The Rivals

Girls Aloud formed on Popstars: The Rivals (Ian West/PA) (PA Archive)

After working as a nightclub promoter, a waitress at Pizza Hut and a BT telephone operator, Harding began touring pubs and social clubs in the North West of England, performing her own material.

She auditioned for the 2002 series of Popstars: The Rivals with an acapella version of Steps’ Last Thing On My Mind before blowing judge Louis Walsh a kiss.

Her performance won her a place on the show and a spot in Girls Aloud.

– The group win big at the Brit Awards

Girls Aloud with the best British single award at the Brits (PA) (PA Archive)

Girls Aloud have been nominated five times at the Brit Awards but only won once – best British single for The Promise at the 2009 ceremony.

Taking to the stage, Harding told the crowd: “Can I just say, it’s about time!”

– Girls Aloud meet the Queen

The Queen greets Cheryl Cole and Girls Aloud (Andrew Winning/Reuters/PA) (PA Archive)

The pop group performed their single The Promise at the Royal Variety Performance at the Royal Albert Hall in 2012 and were pictured speaking to the Queen.

Bandmate Kimberley Walsh later told the Daily Mail: “She said she loved our dresses and asked if we were on a break – which we had been – so she’d obviously done her research.”

– Appearing in Coronation Street

In 2015 Harding fulfilled a long-standing goal and guest starred in Coronation Street on ITV, debuting as Joni Preston, the wife of Robert Preston, played by Tristan Gemmill.

She made only a few appearances that summer as her marriage to Robert disintegrated when he began an affair with his ex-wife.

– Being crowned winner of Celebrity Big Brother

Sarah Harding leaves the Big Brother House (Ian West/PA) (PA Archive)

In 2017 Harding proved a hit with the general public after signing up to enter the Celebrity Big Brother house.

She secured 35.33% of the final vote with singer Amelia Lily as the runner-up and Made In Chelsea’s Sam Thompson coming third.

She later wrote in her autobiography Hear Me Out, “I wanted to prove I could do it. I also went in there intending to show people a different side of me.

“I’d also been portrayed in the media as this mad, off-the-rails party girl.”

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