Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Singing for Those We Love; X Factor Girls Aim to Wow Judges

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Singing for Those We Love; X Factor Girls Aim to Wow Judges

Article excerpt

Byline: By SAM BEATTIE

THEY'VE performed together for years - but now Teesside girl group Pure Elements face their biggest challenge yet.

And when Sonia Herlingshaw, Rebecca Lindberg, Toni Lawton and Natalie Skillcorn pit themselves against X Factor judges tomorrow, they'll be doing it in memory of the woman who made it all possible.

One of their greatest inspirations, Sonia's mum Jacqui, died three years ago almost to the day of their audition.

Sonia said that while they'll be making the most of their golden opportunity, they'll spare a thought for those who helped them get there too.

"We just all want to do it for the people we love," said the 21-year-old, who is about to start work as a teacher at Normanby Primary.

"My mum always supported us along the way. She'd have been so proud.

"I went to my graduation in Durham the other day. I wore mum's wedding ring so she could be part of it and the X Factor rang me while I was there to say we were through."

Jacqui was a founding member of performing arts group Topline, where the girls met.

She died of cancer aged just 45 after a courageous fight.

The fundraising mum-of-four soldiered on to the end, telling the Gazette at the time how she didn't want her kids living in fear of "the Big C".

Sonia, of Teesville, added that despite their success in the first rounds of the auditions, they know they'll face stiff opposition tomorrow.

"We've been taking it one step at a time. It's a big achievement to get this far. We're going to be up against top-notch acts. But we've got each other to lean on.

"It's a definite help we've known each other for so long. Other groups haven't got that bond."

Supported by a coach load of family and friends on their trip to London, the girls aim to wow TV's Mr Nasty, Simon Cowell, and his fellow judges with From a Distance by Bette Midler and Without You Now - a Sugababes hit they mastered in a single night.

"The amount of support we've got is overwhelming," said 17-year-old Rebecca, from Eston, who is studying towards her A levels at St Mary's College, Middlesbrough. …

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