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Steps star excited for Doncaster stadium show

Steps are, from left, Ian 'H' Watkins, Lisa Scott-Lee, Faye Tozer, Claire Richards and Lee Latchford-Evans.
Steps are, from left, Ian 'H' Watkins, Lisa Scott-Lee, Faye Tozer, Claire Richards and Lee Latchford-Evans.
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Claire Richards first burst onto the scene as a fresh-faced singer in pop band Steps in 1997, the year she turned 20.

Since then, she has been through a lot of ups and downs in the public eye, from Steps breaking up and reforming and entering the Celebrity Big Brother house, to her well-publicised struggles with yo-yo dieting.

Now aged 40, she says the landmark age has given her a new level of peace in her life – even with two children, 10-year-old Charlie and Daisy, eight, with her husband Reece Hill.

“It’s a big juggling act most of the time,” she says.

“Me and my husband are a real team when it comes to making sure the kids are looked after, we always make sure that one of us either takes them or picks them up from school, and that there’s always one of us around.”

“It’s not easy, but I’m not the only mother in the world that does it,

“It definitely makes life interesting.”

It is when she is with her family that the pop singer feels the most grounded, away from the celebrity spotlight, the glitz and glamour of showbiz and chasing chart sales.

“Once you have kids, you realise all the things that used to be your priorities are really quite small and insignificant,” she says.

“I now realise that everything else is not as big a deal, as long as they’re okay.

“I do think everything happens for a reason, but it would have been nice to know 20 years ago that everything is not that big a deal, and you’re going to be all right.”

But she is looking forward to joining her Steps bandmates – Ian “H” Watkins, Lee Latchford-Evans, Faye Tozer and Lisa Scott-Lee – on stage at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium on Sunday, June 17.

Support comes from fellow pop veterans Blue and Finland’s 2016 The X Factor UK runner-up Saara Alto and BjÖrn Again performing the hits of Swedish sensations ABBA, although fellow Scandinavians Aqua, Denmark’s Barbie Girl hitmakers, have been forced to pull out “due to unforeseen circumstances”.

At 40, Claire is the youngest of the band who shot to fame in 1997 with the release of 5, 6, 7, 8, a top-20 hit around the world, including topping the charts in Australia.

“Even being 40, I think I wear less onstage than I ever have,” she giggles.

“It’s weird, because I spent so many years being scared of turning 40, and yet, the minute I did, it really wasn’t that bad and a lot of things fell into place.

“I don’t what it is about turning 40, but I definitely had a ‘light on’ moment.

“I know what I’m capable of now and I know what my ability is,”

Things have certainly changed since she was performing in her early 20s.

“I’m not scared of it any more, and I’m not apologetic for it either,” she says.

“I just do what I do and I love it.”

From their debut in 1997, Steps went on to sell more than 15 million records over four-and-a-half years.

They achieved 14 consecutive top five singles with songs such as One for Sorrow, Better Best Forgotten, Love’s Got a Hold on My Heart and Chain Reaction, as well as UK chart-toppers Stomp and Tragedy.

The group also won the best-selling British live act’ at the BRIT Awards in 1999.

Announcing their summer stadium shows last year, after the success of their winter 2017 tour, the band said: “We can’t wait to play outdoors across the UK following on from our sold-out Party on the Dancefloor arena tour .

“The appetite for Steps has never been stronger, and we are thrilled to continue performing throughout next year.

“We promise to deliver a massive party at our summer gigs.

“Bring your family and bring your friends – we cannot wait to see you there.”

For tickets, see ticketmaster.co.uk