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Bromley Calendar Girls receive encouragement from true-life stars
A brave am-dram group put hundreds of bums on seats with their production of Calendar Girls to raise more than £1,000 for a cancer charity.
Bromley Little Theatre collected £1,500 for Leukaemia Research with nine performances, finishing last Saturday.
And the actresses were absolutely thrilled to receive phone messages of encouragement from the original true-life stars whose touching story inspired the play.
Laura Kenward was a member of the cast in Bromley Little Theatre’s production.
She said: “When the play by Tim Firth became available for amateur release earlier this year, practically every dramatic society in the country jumped at the chance to put on this wonderful play.
“I don't think any of us realised what an amazing phenomenon Calendar Girls was going to prove to be.
“Our tickets sold out within three weeks and we were also lucky enough to have representatives in the foyer from Leukaemia Research every night collecting for this wonderful charity. “We were also incredibly lucky to have voicemails left on my phone from the real calendar girls including Angela Baker (Miss February), who lost her husband John to Leukaemia.”
Whilst John Baker was undergoing treatment, his wife and friends in the local WI decided to create an alternative club calendar, in the nude.
The idea provided much mirth and entertainment for John throughout his difficult treatment.
Laura added: “After his death, the women were determined to continue.
“John grew sunflowers from the onset of his illness and gave them to friends and family in the hope that he would have recovered by the time they flowered.
“Sadly, this was not the case, but the sunflower lives on as a reminder of John's life and has become a symbol for the Calendar Girls’ fundraising.
“The Girls initially aimed to generate funds to buy a new sofa for the hospital where John was being treated.
“To date, they have raised more than £1.5 million for Leukaemia Research, have been the subject of a smash hit Hollywood film starring Helen Mirren and Julie Walters, and filled more column inches than they can count and now their story is re-enacted in a hit stage show.”
There has been a Facebook page opened where societies, as far as Adelaide in Australia, have been commenting on their experiences and exchanging costume and staging ideas.
“It would be fabulous to help spread the word and make people aware what the amazing group of ladies from the original Calendar Girls did will keep on going for many years to come to help raise money to research this 'cheating, sly, conniving, silent bloody disease that cancer is'.” Laura said.