Hitting the high notes: UK women and celebrities unite for charity record

Cancer Research UK

Hundreds of women from across the UK have joined over 20 celebrities to record a unique charity single in aid of Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life. The track, led by DJ and Singer Sonique, who herself is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer, is a remake of Cyndi Lauper’s 1980s classic ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’. The single, which is on sale today (26 April 2010), to mark the start of Race for Life – the UK’s largest women-only fundraising series, is sold exclusively by official Race for Life partner Tesco and available to download on iTunes, with proceeds going directly to help beat cancer.

Sonique, whose lines on the track see her returning to the microphone for the first time since her diagnosis last June, is joined on the song by a host of female celebrities including Coronation Street‘s Kym Marsh, actress Caroline Quentin, Big Brother star Nicola T and the X-Factor’s Lucie Jones. The track also features a number of inspirational women who have been personally affected by cancer, as well as the contributions of women from around the UK, captured by mobile producers who have been touring shopping centres.

Sonique said: ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’ really embodies the spirit of Race for Life because, although there’s a serious message behind the activity, it really does feel like the ultimate girls’ day out. The fact that any woman, no matter how good their voice is, has been able to get involved is brilliant and really captures the essence of Race for Life. It’s not competitive and women of all ages, shapes and sizes can take part. I’d urge every woman to sign up for an event this year!”

Denya Dessena, a breast cancer survivor aged 39 from Crawley who also recorded lines for the track, said: “ I loved every minute of my day in the recording studio – if you’d have told me a few months ago that I was going to record a single with so many famous singers, I’d have said you were mad! It’s great to come together with so many different women to take part in this, because cancer is something that doesn’t discriminate - it can affect women from all walks of life, regardless of age, money or status. It’s been great fun recording the single and I would love for it to go to number one so that we can raise as much money as possible for Cancer Research UK.”

Now in its 17th year, Race for Life is the UK’s largest women-only fundraising series, with over 230 events taking place this summer. Women from across the UK come together to simply walk, jog or run 5k and raise money to help beat cancer. Since Race for Life began in 1994, there has been a 15 per cent drop in the death rate from cancer, something that money raised from Race for Life has helped to achieve. This year the charity is hoping over 700,000 women come together to raise an incredible £60 million to fund Cancer Research UK’s life saving work. 

Each Race for Life event covers a distance of 5k and Cancer Research UK is encouraging women of all ages and levels of fitness to participate. To sign up for a Race for Life event and for more information on how to take part in the ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ single, go to www.raceforlife.org

'Girls Just Want to Have Fun', in aid of Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, is released today (26 April) and is available exclusively in over 800 Tesco stores and to download on iTunes. Tesco has been a proud partner of Race for Life since 2002 and during the past nine years over 152,000 female members of staff have taken part, raising over an incredible £5.6 million to support Cancer Research UK.

Notes to Editor

About Sonique and her cancer experience:

Sonique (real name Sonia Clarke), aged 41, is a British Singer and DJ who is currently being treated for breast cancer. 

Sonique was diagnosed less than a year ago in May 2009. After a biopsy, it was revealed that the disease had spread to the lymph nodes under her arms and she was rushed straight into hospital for an operation to remove both the lump and lymph nodes. A week later Sonique had another operation to remove further tissue, which was then followed by five months of intensive chemotherapy that finished two months ago in November. 

Soon after this, doctors recommended that Sonique went though her third operation to remove additional tissue as a preventative measure. January and February will see Sonique go through six weeks of preventative radiotherapy which will hopefully signify the end of her cancer journey.

‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ contributors include:

  • Sonique, 41, British DJ and singer
  • Lucie Jones, 18, X Factor Finalist 2009
  • Nicola Tappenden, 27, Model and Celebrity Big Brother contestant
  • Jaime Jay, 27, British singer
  • Carol Decker, 53, British Recording Artist (80’s band T’Pau)
  • Kym Marsh, 34, Actress/singer
  • Nina Wadia, 42, Eastenders actress
  • Kelli Young, 29, Singer who found fame with pop band Liberty X
  • Penny Smith, 52, TV presenter (GMTV)
  • Danielle Lloyd, 27, British glamour model
  • Lucy Benjamin, 40, Actress
  • Su-Elise Nash, 29, British singer who found fame in girlband Mis-Teeq
  • Cheeky Girls, aka, Gabriella and Monica Irimia, both 28, female duo
  • Lisa Scott-Lee, 35, British recording artist
  • Hollyoaks actresses Loui Batley, Jorgie Porter, Nicole Barber-Lane, Melissa Walton, Dominique Jackson and Alice Barlow
  • Deanne Berry, 29, Fitness Expert (GMTV)
  • Hundreds of women in shopping centres across the UK