Angela Baker and Trisha Stewart explain how with friends they decided to bare all to raise money for blood cancer research.

In February 1998 Angela Baker's husband John was diagnosed with non-Hodkin's lymphoma. Her friend and fellow Womens Institute (WI) member Trisha Stewart suggested an alternative way to raise funds for leukemia research – a calendar with photographs of WI members in the nude.  

Sadly John died in July 1988, and he never saw the finished product, but Angela and Trisha went ahead with their plans, and recruited friends to join them. The idea had been around for a long time, but Trisha says that John’s illness and passing, and the support of their families and friends propelled and encouraged them to take action.

We talked about it and joked about it, and then it became a reality.

To date 288,000 calendars have been sold, gracing the walls of shops, offices, homes and businesses all over the UK. Trisha describes the whole thing as extraordinary, 

You walk into the butcher’s, and there you are.

Since all of this happened Angela and Trisha have appeared on television shows in Britain and the USA, and a film version of their story is also in the pipeline. 

£406,000 has been raised for Leukemia Research UK to date, and their new calendar is also raising money for Leukemia and Lymphoma society of America. This weekend Angela and Trisha will speak to 1500 runners who are taking part in the Dublin City Marathon for that charity, who collectively will raise US$6 million for it.

Some members of the Louth Village ICA (Irish Countrywomen’s Association) who are in the studio audience,  are less than enthusiastic about any prospect of creating a similar calendar. Another lady in the audience who puts the Kill ICA’s name forward is fully supportive of the Calendar Girls,  

It was wonderful, they looked beautiful.

This episode of The Late Late Show was broadcast on 27 October 2000. The presenter is Pat Kenny.