Published: 16:10, 07 September 2021
| Updated: 21:33, 07 September 2021
A breast cancer charity fundraiser has restressed the need to get checked after the death of singer Sarah Harding.
Kerry Banks organised a walk for her charity Breast Cancer Now, which took place the day before the Girls Aloud singer and actress died, aged just 39.
Ms Harding had months ago expressed concern about people not getting themselves seen in time because of the pandemic.
Now Mrs Banks, who is behind the Crocus Walk which took place in Walmer on Saturday, said: "I feel totally devastated about Sarah’s passing.
"I met her briefly some years ago at an event in London. She was such a vivacious young lady taken far too soon.
"My comment to every woman and man is: 'Please, please check your breasts regularly.
'If you feel anything that doesn’t feel right go to your doctors to get checked out - it could save your life.'
"I am even more determined to keep fundraising and raising awareness."
Cancer Research UK says that while 55,000 women in the UK are annually diagnosed with breast cancer it also happens to 350 men.
Ms Harding, who shot to fame in 2002 through the band Girls Aloud, announced that she had the illness last year.
Last March she expressed concern that people were not seeing their doctor during the pandemic even if they had signs or symptoms that worried them.
In her autobiography, Hear Me Out, she said: "There had been so much reporting on the news about people missing out on check-ups during Covid lockdown, even though they might be worried about something.
"Maybe if I spoke out, as a public figure, it could help get the message across how important it is to get checked out if you have concerns."
The annual Crocus Walk was begun in 2006 by Mrs Banks.
She had started fundraising to help deal with breast cancer after her friend Julie Mortimer suffered a repeat of the illness.
Ms Mortimer died in 2010 and Mrs Banks named her fundraising Julie's Legacy.
She had a bench put up for her friend on the seafront above the large gravel car park in Walmer where the15km (9-mile) walk starts.
A total of 58 men and women, including some from London and Ashford, took part this year, many dressed in pink. More than £3,000 has been raised so far.
The 2022 walk has been set for Saturday, April 2, with registration costing £10.
People can register an interest in this by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org