THE fascinating tale of the women from Rylstone and District WI whose nude calendar took the world by storm hitting the big screen and stage and raising millions of pounds for charity in the process is played out in a special exhibition.

‘Twenty Years of the Calendar Girls’ features those iconic images taken by photographer, Terry Logan, of the women posing behind strategically plates of buns and a piano which went on to earn more than £5m for the charity Bloodwise.

The calendar was inspired by John Baker, an assistant National Park Officer at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, who died from non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in July 1998.

John’s wife, Angela Baker, appears as Miss February in the original calendar which was launched to fund research into the causes and treatments of all types of blood cancers.

However, the women never envisaged how successful the calendar would become believing they would only sell 1,000 - yet they more than surpassed their expectations selling hundreds of thousands of copies.

“We thought we would struggle to sell 1,000 - we had no idea we would sell 88,000 in the first year,” says Miss October, Tricia Stewart.

Their heartwarming tale of how the calendar transpired has been told on the big screen in the film starring a cast including Julie Walters and Helen Mirren, a play and more recently, a musical created by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth.

When we spoke, Tricia, who is now a public speaker entertaining audiences with her talk about the Calendar Girls journey and has penned a book about the experience, was looking forward to attending the rehearsal on July 31 for the musical which is returning to Leeds, at the city’s Grand Theatre as part of its UK tour from August 16 to September 1.

“It keeps it all going,” says Tricia, referring to the journey the women have been on since taking part in the tasteful photoshoot all those years ago.

“It’s a normal part of our lives now - we are always doing something to do with the Calendar Girls. It just goes on,” says Tricia.

She says the exhibition at the Dales Countryside Museum in Station Yard, Hawes, is a ‘brilliant idea’ and explains how the girls got together at her house to go through all the things they had collected over the years since the calendar came out.

Tricia says they couldn’t believe how much memorabilia they had accumulated.

“Getting all our stuff together seemed huge,” says Tricia, who particularly loves the large-scale versions of their photos featured in the exhibition.

“We kept everything, every paper.”

“It’s incredible, it’s brilliant,” says Tricia, who attended the exhibition with her family, including her grandchildren who weren’t even born when the original calendar came out.

“They knew nothing about it but I did warn them the posters would have Gran with no clothes on!”

Tricia praises those involved in the museum for the tasteful display. “It’s brilliant, they have done a great job,” she adds.

Visitors will enjoy sharing the memories so far as, no doubt, there will be many more to be made....

“I don’t think they will realise how much we have done. We didn’t realise ourselves until we got it all together, you forget,” adds Tricia.

The exhibition runs until August 31. For more information, or to get involved, call 01969 666210 or visit