A NEW calendar to mark 20 years since the Rylstone Women’s Institute Calendar Girls first took the world by storm could hit the presses later this year.

Angela Baker, one of the members whose late husband, John Baker, inspired the original creation while suffering from non-Hodgkins lymphoma, said the group had spoken of an anniversary edition.

“Not many people have seen the original version so we have spoken of the possibility of doing another with the six of us who were part of the original line-up and the actresses from the musical which is being staged at the moment.

“Nothing has been done about it yet, though, but you never know,” she said.

The original calendar, when it was launched on April 12, 1999, was a stroke of genius by member Tricia Stewart.

She had put it forward as an alternative suggestion for the group’s annual calendar and when mentioned to Mr Baker as a way of raising money for leukaemia research, he said they would never do it.

Sadly, Mr Baker died before the calendar was produced, but he loved the idea and it went ahead in his memory with photographs taken by Terry Logan, husband of Calendar Girl, Lynda, in their Threshfield home.

The launch, which took place on April 12, 1999, at the Devonshire Arms, in Cracoe, proved to be an overnight global success thanks to the ensuing media scrum.

It was a far cry from the tweeds and twin-sets image the WI carried and who were best known, however inaccurately, for their jam making and renditions of the hymn, Jerusalem.

The ladies were pictured in everyday pose wearing just a string of pearls and offering a glimpse of nudity behind a variety of props. “We had no idea it was going to be such a success, said Angela, who has been married to retired vicar Charles Knowles since 2005.

“We had worried we wouldn’t manage to sell the 1,000 we had printed.

“Now, 20 years later, the name is still going. There has been a film which has been shown world-wide, a stage show which ran for nine months in the West End a play which was opened up to amateurs and a musical which is currently running.

“My only regret is that it hasn’t reached Broadway yet.”

“The whole thing keeps on going and we are all carrying on because all the time it is raising money for Bloodwise - formerly Leukaemia Research.

“It seems to have developed a life of its own. The shows are a sell-out. If it got to the point where people were saying ‘oh, it’s those Calendar Girls again’, it would be different, but it is still a success,” she added.

The total the women have raised is between £5 million and £6 million to date and it has helped save lives and has made a difference to sufferers, particularly with childhood leukaemia.

Most of this has been raised by the Bakers Half Dozen, the group including Angela which continued fundraising after the original 11 women parted over a wrangle about who would create the film.

“It was a sad time, but it happened. We are all very adult about it because we all live in a small area but our group has carried on because it is still doing so well. It is amazing really.

“So much has happened but it is still hard to believe it is 20 years ago when it came out. We are all just so thrilled it was as successful as it was.

Angela was with the group last week at a 20th anniversary celebration at Sheffield Lyceum. Next month they are attending a talk in Preston.

“I am involved in some way with the charity each day,” said Angela. “Sometimes there can be several weeks go by with nothing much happening and then at other times there are events to go to. I think while we can, and while it is still rolling, we will roll with it.”