One of the original Calendar girls, Tricia Stewart, will be telling the story of the now-famous fund-raising escapade by the women of the Rystone & District WI at a fund-raiser for Huddersfield’s Kirkwood Hospice.
The event, at Bertie’s in Elland on Thursday, May 3, features Miss October, as she was back in 1999 when the 11 middle-aged WI members stripped bare for an alternative risque calendar and made world-wide headlines.
Today Tricia is an experienced inspirational speaker, undertaking more than 100 engagements each year to continue the fundraising for research into blood-related cancers. The women initially aimed to raise £5,000 for the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research charity, but up to date have netted in total nearly £5m for Bloodwise (the charity’s new name).
The Calendar Girls story began in 1998 when Tricia’s close friend Angela Baker lost her husband John to Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Tricia had long thought their Yorkshire Dales WI group should be more daring when producing its annual calendar and John’s tragic death proved to be the catalyst for change.
Photographs were duly taken by local artist Terry Logan and within days of publication the calendar grabbed mass-media attention. More than 88,000 copies were sold in the UK and a year later it was published in America, selling a further 240,000 copies. Tricia wrote a best-selling book Calendar Girl; their story has been turned into both a musical and a movie; and in 2006 six of the original ‘girls’ were photographed for a new calendar with six actresses from the film.
Tricia, who has been portrayed by Dame Helen Mirren, Linda Bellingham and Anita Dobson, is a witty and entertaining speaker with a treasure trove of anecdotes to tell.
The hospice event is being promoted by supporter Ann Silver, of Lepton, who was inspired to stage her own fund-raiser after losing a friend and former colleague, Helen Galsworthy. Ann held a Ladies Evening that raised more than £2,000 for the hospice.
“I’m sure the hospice’s Evening with Tricia Stewart will be a fabulous event,” said Ann, “I have heard she is a really inspirational woman.”
Tickets for the event are £35, including a two-course meal, or £300 for a table for ten. For details contact 01484 557911 or visit kirkwoodhospice.co.uk/events