Sarah Harding: Death of Girls Aloud singer made me reflect on life | Rick Jackson

I was very sad to hear of the death of Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding at the weekend at the tender age of just 39.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 8:27 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 8:27 pm
ANXIOUS: Sarah Harding in 2015. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

Her persona portrayed in the media was of a larger-than-life party girl, loud, confident and very extroverted.

The person I met came across very differently and, I’ll be honest, I felt she was a lonely soul looking for acceptance.

It was at a concert I was hosting in Bournemouth with many other acts on the bill, like Scouting for Girls, Travis, Alicia Dixon and the Kaiser Chiefs.

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Girls Aloud had long since split and Cheryl Cole already had solo success and was a judge on the talent show The X Factor.

Before Sarah went on stage she looked very nervous.

She asked me if she looked OK. She said she was worried about the crowd’s reaction to her and that she wasn’t good enough.

She was. She went on stage and smashed it.

The whole process she went through to make it into Girls Aloud in the first place clearly showed she had more than enough talent.

But there lies the lesson.

The dreaded, often invisible and sometimes debilitating anxiety.

Here was someone who on national telly had proved her worth, anxious about performing on stage.

Many other stars get stage fright or are worried their bubble might burst, but that also rings true of us ordinary folk.

It’s easier said than done, but it made me think how much time and energy we all waste worrying about what other people think of us.

Many of us place more importance on social acceptance than our own inner peace.

Do we wear the right clothes? Are we popular? Am I attractive?

I have a respect these days for the Bohemian, eccentric individuals who don’t care what other people think and live life to the full in their own way.

Sarah’s star did shine bright – gone too soon, but what a life she lived.

We’re not in position to preach until our own house is in order

I’m sure we were all disgusted at the reaction from Hungary fans towards England players after our 4-0 victory over them last week in Budapest.

Footage of bottles being thrown at Raheem Stirling after his goal has been played over and over on our TVs.

Reports of monkey chants against Sterling and 17-year-old Jude Bellingham were also heard. Shaming those Hungary fans is right, absolutely – but let’s not be too quick to judge. Bukayo Saka received plenty of racial abuse on-line after his penalty miss at the Euro’s this summer and don’t forget the monkey emojis that accompany many a tweet to F1 champion Lewis Hamilton. We’re not ready to preach to others just yet.

My son has now cut his teeth on how to be a plane spotter

My seven-year-old son Freddie is now a bona fide aeroplane spotter. Once a month I take him to Heathrow to watch them take off and land.

There are always many others scattered around the perimeter, cameras at the ready. One top spot looks as if it might be in Southsea or Gosport. A cul-de-sac called Myrtle Avenue, with a small park at the end and lined by 1930s’ semis. After the park is the A30 dual carriageway and after that, Heathrow’s southern runway.

Last weekend’s highlight was an Emirates A380 take-off. It headed straight for us and by the time she was overhead, she was only 800ft off the ground at full throttle. Stunning, and worth sitting in traffic on the M25 to see.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron.

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