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  1. ITV Report

A look back at the life of Bernie Nolan

Bernie Nolan Photo: Press Association

Bernie Nolan shot to stardom with her singing sisters The Nolans.

The group, best known for 1979 hit I'm In The Mood For Dancing, sold millions of records around the world.

The Nolans enjoyed success with songs such as Don't Make Waves, Attention To Me and Gotta Pull Myself Together and became huge in Japan, where they are said to have sold more records than the Beatles.

They also supported Frank Sinatra on the European leg of his world tour.

The Nolan Sisters (top left, clockwise) Denise, 24, Maureen, 21, Linda, 17, Anne, 24 and Bernadette 'Bernie', 16. Credit: Press Association

Bernadette Nolan was born on October 17, 1960 in Ireland to singers Tommy and Maureen, who would have eight children - six girls and two boys - together.

The family troupe performed in smoky pubs and clubs at night, often until the early hours, and would be woken up in the morning for school.

"It got to the stage," she once said, "where they didn't talk about whether the new baby was going to be a boy or a girl, but whether they could sing."

Their father Tommy Nolan, who became their manager, had a volatile temper and was frequently violent with his wife when he was drunk.

After his death Anne, who was the eldest sister, revealed that their father had sexually abused her from the age of 11.

Bernie Nolan in 2002 Credit: Press Association

Nolan, the lead vocalist on many of the group's recordings, quit The Nolans in 1994 to focus on her solo career.

But The Nolans reunited in 2009, in a sell-out UK reunion tour, which led to a dispute with two of the sisters, Denise and Anne, who had been excluded.

Siblings Coleen, Bernie, Maureen and Linda said that the record company made the decision.

Nolan, who gave birth to her daughter Erin in 1999, also enjoyed an acting career, with credits included Diane Murray in Channel 4 soap Brookside, and Sheelagh Murphy in ITV police drama The Bill.

She took part in Channel 4 series The Games and ITV's Popstar to Operastar, and in 1988 on Saturday morning children's show On The Waterfront.

Bernie Nolan during a photocall for the series of The Games Credit: Press Association

On stage, Nolan performed in Blood Brothers, Flashdance The Musical and the UK tour of Chicago The Musical in 2012 and a touring production of Calendar Girls.

Nolan, who married drummer Steve Doneathy in 1996 and whose first daughter Kate was born stillborn in 1997, was told she had breast cancer in 2010, becoming the third Nolan sister to have the disease.

After being told she was clear of the cancer, it was found to have returned in 2012 and spread to her brain, liver, lungs, and bones.