Members of Girls Aloud gathered in Hyde Park on Sunday for the first time in nine years to pay tribute to their late singer. Sarah Harding.
Cheryl, Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh took part in the Race for Life for Sarah 5k to raise money for breast cancer, marking their first public appearance together since 2013.
Sarah died aged 39 last September after being diagnosed with breast cancer which then spread to other parts of her body.
Reunion: Girls Aloud reunited in Hyde Park on Sunday for the first time in nine years to pay tribute to their late bandmate Sarah Harding
Cheryl, Nadine and Nicola were in Hyde Park for the event, while Kimberley completed the walk remotely.
Kimberly appeared remotely via video link on Nicola’s phone, just as they started the race, honking their horns.
Thousands of fans gathered in the park to take part in the action, and the group hopes to raise funds for a first aid kit to help detect cancer earlier.
Before the race, Cheryl gave a heartfelt speech to the crowd in which she admitted she had not expected the level of grief she would feel after Sarah’s death.
Tragedy: Sarah died aged 39 last September after being diagnosed with breast cancer which then spread to other parts of her body
Event: Cheryl, Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh took part in the Race for Life for Sarah 5k to raise money for breast cancer, marking their first public appearance together since 2013.
She said: “To be honest, I never experienced or expected this grief.
“You know, I lost my grandparents when I was younger, and I lost a friend when I was younger, but nothing like this, the feeling of shock and disbelief, and it’s still there, to be honest. I still can’t believe it’s real.”
The incident comes shortly after Cheryl told MailOnline she felt “extremely helpless” when Sarah was told her cancer was incurable.
She said: “I really begged her to give me something to make her happy or comfortable, whatever.
Back together: Nicola, Cheryl and Nadine were in Hyde Park for the event, while Kimberley completed the walk remotely
Stage: Thousands of fans flocked to the park to take part in the action, with the group hoping to raise funds for a first aid kit to help detect cancer earlier
Emotional: Cheryl gave a heartfelt speech to the crowd ahead of the race in which she admitted she didn’t expect the level of grief she would feel after Sarah’s death
She said: “To be honest, I never experienced or expected this grief” (pictured with Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK)
“Towards the end, she asked me to throw a gala in her honor to fund an important study her doctor was working on, so I’m trying to do that.”
Nadine added: “She has told us about it several times. Sarah was very passionate about helping other people who were in the same situation that she was in, or who might be in the same situation that she was in.
“She really wanted to raise the funds herself, but unfortunately she wasn’t good enough, so we promised her we would do it for her.
“She would have loved the race for life – she would have been happy to run in it. We know for sure that she will be with us in spirit on July 24 in Hyde Park.”
Cheryl added: “You know, I lost my grandparents when I was young and I lost a friend when I was younger but nothing like this, the feeling of shock and disbelief and it’s still there to be honest. I still can’t believe it’s real”
Good cause: Nicola ran in a Race For Life t-shirt and black leggings
Heartbreaking: Cheryl told MailOnline she felt ‘extremely helpless’ when Sarah was told her cancer was incurable
Kimberley said: “She talked to us about it when we were all together and apart.
“We all want to be as active as possible to raise as much money as possible in her name. We promised her we would.”
Nicola said the girls would have raised funds for breast cancer even if Sarah hadn’t asked them to, as it would help their many fans who are “in the same fight as her”.
When asked why it was important for The Promise hitmakers to come together for the race, Cheryl said: “Sarah was an integral part of all of us.
“It’s only natural for Sarah and her legacy to come together in support of her and others who may be going through the same devastation as we are.”
Nadine added: “When we were asked if we wanted to do it, we all said yes straight away. I think it’s a very important cause and we’d like to do everything we can to help.”
Kimberley chimed in: “When Sarah was ill we all felt so helpless. I think she would be very happy that we are all doing it.”
She continued: “Sarah wanted us to raise money for the Christie Hospital where she was being treated.
“Also, we will always do what we can to raise money and awareness for cancer and breast cancer.”
Girls Aloud are planning further fundraising events in 2022, culminating in a huge gala dinner in the next few months, with more details to come soon.
Cheryl explained: “We have a gala dinner planned this year in Sarah’s honor and at her request. We will be working with Cancer Research UK to raise funds and awareness.”
Nicola detailed how they “asked big companies to put their hands in their pockets” to support an important cause.
She said: “I’m delighted with what we’ve planned and I think we’ve managed to do what we wanted everyone to feel included but make a big monetary difference to the charities.”
Sarah and the rest of the girls rose to fame when they were brought together on Popstars: The Rivals in 2002.
Sarah Marie’s mother confirmed her daughter’s death in a post on Instagram, saying she had “slipped away peacefully” and called her a “bright shining star”.