Gazette reporter Andy Keeble catches up with girl band The Saturdays before they switch on Barnstaple's Christmas lights TWELVE months in pop is a long time. This time last year, members of up-and-coming British girl band The Saturdays were pulling pints

Gazette reporter Andy Keeble catches up with girl band The Saturdays before they switch on Barnstaple's Christmas lightsTWELVE months in pop is a long time. This time last year, members of up-and-coming British girl band The Saturdays were pulling pints and serving shoppers during the busy Christmas rush. After getting together as a group that summer, it wasn't until last December that the anxious five-piece finally got the calls that would light the touch paper on their rocket to stardom.What followed has been a crazy year of red carpets, television appearances, album and single releases, and even a support slot on Girls Aloud's UK tour. But despite being caught up in the pop industry whirlwind, the girls breeze into a sponsors' meet and greet at Barnstaple's Imperial Hotel like a breath of fresh air.Stunningly beautiful, sweet and smiley, Frankie, Rochelle, Vanessa, Mollie and Una arrive immaculately turned out and all set to add a touch of glamour to the town's Big Switch On event.The girls happily chat to fans, sign CDs and pose for photographs before sitting down for a quick chat with the Gazette.With Christmas lights switch-on events in Coventry, Barnsley and Hull already under their belts this month, the title of the girls' brand new debut album, Chasing Lights couldn't be more fitting.But a hectic diary of appearances doesn't appear to dampen the girls' enthusiasm. They are clearly excited to be in the limelight and seem genuinely excited to be in Barnstaple to turn on the town's lights."It's fantastic to be here - a great way to get into the Christmas spirit," says Mollie.All are quick to chip in and contribute to the interview and the message coming through is that 2007 has been a pretty exciting year for The Saturdays."The last year has been crazy, totally full-on," says Vanessa, who, being from Somerset, is closer to home in North Devon than all of her fellow band members."This time last year, we had recorded a couple of demos but were all waiting to see if we would get the call from the record company," says Rochelle. "We were all constantly phoning each other to see if anyone had heard any news."If Christmas 2007 was somewhat of a waiting game, it looks as though The Saturdays will barely have time to pull a Christmas cracker this year. Straight after Sunday's switch on, they were whisked away to Butlins in Minehead for a gig with X-Factor winner Shayne Ward. And with appearances already booked on television shows GMTV and This Morning and a photo shoot with OK magazine sandwiched among countless live performances between now and the New Year, things look tough at the pop!They are due to appear in an episode of Hollyoaks Later on Channel 4 next Wednesday night and will be looking forward to the launch of their third single on January 5."And there's so much already planned for next year," adds Una.So how are they coping with the glare of the limelight? Although Frankie and Rochelle have experienced fame with S Club Juniors and Mollie with X Factor Fallen Angelz, it's no surprise that they're getting used to the focus."It's great that there are five of us, as we can share the attention between us," says Frankie, who said she had fully recovered from a recent appendix operation.And with that, the girls leave the cosy warmth of the Tower Suite to take centre stage again - this time in front of 10,000 people in Barnstaple's Square.