The original Calendar Girls helped launch the latest chapter in their incredible story on Wednesday in Burnsall, as they hosted the inaugural “Tea with the Girls” fundraising event for blood cancer research charity Bloodwise – 18 years to the day since their first ‘alternative’ WI Calendar.
The Girls were joined by family, friends and members of the local community who were instrumental in the making of the first calendar, as they celebrated the launch with tea and cake in Burnsall Village Hall.
Tea with the Girls is a brand new fundraising campaign inspired and initiated by the original Girls. Women across the country are encouraged to host their own afternoon tea this summer with family, friends and colleagues to raise funds for life-saving research into blood cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
Angela Baker said: “It’s been wonderful to have been joined by so many people who are dear to us, on the day where it began 18 years ago, and celebrate the next exciting chapter for Bloodwise. We never thought all those years ago that we would now be launching a national fundraising campaign to raise even more money for the charity. John would have been so proud.”
Also joining the original ladies were local blood cancer patients Rebecca Alton (17), who overcame acute myeloid leukaemia three times as a child, Louise MacLeod (37) who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2012 after 11 months of misdiagnosis, and Mark Noblet (36), who was also diagnosed with the same disease in 2013. All are currently in remission and doing well.
Diana Jupp, Acting CEO of Bloodwise, said: “We are incredibly proud of all that the Girls have achieved, and will be forever grateful for the amount of money and awareness that they have raised for Bloodwise over the years.
“Their fundraising has undoubtedly transformed blood cancer research and directly improved the lives of patients living with the disease today. With the money raised from Tea with the Girls we can fund more research that will save the lives of patients with the disease which kills more people each year than breast or prostate cancer.
“So pop the kettle on, get the cakes in, and know that you’re making a huge difference to patients’ lives.”
John Baker, husband of Angela Baker, passed away in 1998 after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Following her loss, Angela and her Yorkshire friends set about creating the famous ‘alternative’ Women’s Institute calendar. To date, the ladies have raised £4million for Bloodwise.
For a free Tea with the Girls fundraising pack including a guide to hosting your own event, celebrity recipe cards and cake toppers, visit www.bloodwise.org.uk/tea-with-the-girls