Sunday, 9 December 2012

Instructions now available if you want to crochet a Calendar Girl

There's been a flurry of interest from people who want to crochet a calendar girl.

So we've now made the instructions - created originally by Tilley Bancroft of Red Door Studios - available for ANYONE to obtain from us.

All we'd like in return is a stamped addressed envelope - to send your instructions back to you without us incurring any postage charges - and a small donation to our ongoing fund for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

You should post your stamped addressed envelope to:
Burton Calendar Girls
87 Meadow View
Staffordshire DE13 9AL.

You can either enclose a small donation - whatever you can afford - or you can make a small donation online safely and securely at our Just Giving page -

We'd LOVE to know how you get on - so do leave us a comment on the blog.

Happy crocheting!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Rehearsing - and crocheting

Rehearsals are now underway for our March 2013 production of Calendar Girls - the play - at The Brewhouse in Burton-on-Trent. I haven't forgotten that I promised you casting news, and that will follow.

Crcoheting calendar girls is also underway - with mixed results.

Our photographer, Tilley, who also appears in our October shot, has recruited her mum to the cause - and she's doing brilliantly.

Other people have made a promising start....

But the end result in this case was a rather over-sized and (frankly) deeply unattractive crocheted 'girl'.
If you know the play Calendar Girls it may come as no surprise that THIS delightful diva was created by the lady playing 'Ruth' - she of the handmade fancy dress costume etc... who means well but never quite manages to win any prizes.

She's now on crocheted doll number 2 which looks good so far..... I think she's learned from her mistakes, and maybe the canine encouragement helped.

If you would like to join the 'crochet a calendar girl' drive we can send you out some instructions in return for a small donation to the cause.

You can donate to our fund for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research easily and quickly online at Any small donation this festive season would be welcome.

You can also buy one of our calendar for just £8 - if you are able to collect one in person from us in Burton-on-Trent - or we can mail them out for an additional charge to cover postage and packing. See our How to Buy A Calendar page for more information.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Crochet your own Burton Calendar Girl

It's amazing the ideas that percolate in a dressing room when a bunch of Little Theatre Company ladies are dressed as nuns for The Sound of Music.

Maybe those wimples overheated our heads, but as we watched 'Sister Tilley' crochet backstage to pass the time between bouts of acapella four-part harmony singing in Latin the idea of crocheting our own calendar girls emerged.

Tilley (that woman's talents know NO bounds) is a crochet expert extraordinary as well as a top class animator, designer and photographer at Red Door Studios. She - remember - took ALL the photos for our beautiful calendar and designed the pages and got everything ready for the printers.

Well, she quickly whipped up a sample doll overnight.

... and she soon had a couple of friends.

Last night, at the first read through of our production of Calendar Girls the play - on at The Brewhouse, in Burton-on-Trent, in March 2013 - Tilley distributed wool, a pattern she's created and a crochet hook to all the girls to start crocheting their own calendar girls.

Watch this space for news of our progress. We hope that by March we'll have a full set of Burton Calendar Girls which we would raffle off during show week - along with the signed memorabilia from the professional cast of Calendar Girls - to raise more money to add to our funds being raised for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research

If anyone gets a bit obsessed and carried away with this craft project (YOU KNOW WHO I'M THINKING OF, GIRLS!!) then any extra dolls may be for sale in the bar during the show week. Or auctioned to the highest bidder, even!

If anyone out there who loves crafts and crocheting wants to join us, leave us a message here or on our Facebook page and I'm sure we can get you a copy of the pattern so you can join in the fun.

Now here, for the benefit of the crocheting calendar girls, are a series of video tutorials that Tilley has found time to record (I wonder if she ever sleeps?) which will help you. They are also quite useful to anyone else who wants to hone their crocheting skills.

Meanwhile, a quick reminder that our calendars are STILL on sale priced at £8 each - a great idea for a Christmas gift that gives to such an important charity dedicated to beating blood cancers. Find out how to buy one at our How To Buy A Calendar page.

You can alternatively (or as well as) make a small donation of whatever you can afford at our Just Giving Page -

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Hot news! Burton Calendar Girls are on Just Giving

I've just set up my first-ever page on Just Giving. What a great system that is for raising funds for charity.

Did you know that the money you donate through Just Giving goes STRAIGHT to your chosen charity - in our case that's Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

We found in the last week or so that a lot of people who visit our stalls at events like to pop some small change in our collecting tin - so we thought that a Just Giving Page would be an easy and 100% secure way for people further afield to contribute to our cause.

So the big question now is - who is going to make the first donation? Go to - if you would like it to be you!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

They're behind you! (...and to the left and right too)

Thanks to our GREAT friends from BASE (Burton Amateur Stage Entertainers) - the longest-running annual pantomime group in Burton - who were keen to lend their support to the Burton Calendar Girls project when the town's Christmas lights were officially switched on last weekend.

Here are some of their stars helping to promote our calendar with Hannah and Tilley.

We'd advise you to book your tickets soon for their February 2013 panto - which this year is Aladdin. It's always a really entertaining night out with all the fun and laughter you'd expect from a truly traditional panto.

The 'rags to riches' tale of Aladdin is packed with adventure and is guaranteed to be a family favourite.

The show runs from Tuesday February 19 to Saturday February 23 - including matinees on Thursday and Saturday - at The Brewhouse.

Tickets are £9 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and £10 on Friday and Saturday. Concessions are available at £1 off the full ticket price. A family ticket for two adults and two concessions costs £30. You can book online at the BASE website here, or contact the Brewhouse box office on 01283-508100.

Monday, 19 November 2012

By George! A new calendar retail outlet

We're very grateful to George Gunby - a familiar face in Burton town centre at this time every year - who runs the Calendar Club stall outside Boots in the middle of the Cooper's Square Shopping Centre.

George has agreed to display our Burton Calendar Girls calendar and sell it alongside the huge range of calendars and diaries he already stocks.

So do pop down and buy a copy from him if you've not bought yours yet.

Our full colour calendar costs £8 and is raising money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research - 

the only UK charity solely dedicated to research into blood cancers, including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Miss April lights up Burton's switch-on celebrations

Special thanks to Hannah - aka Miss April - who promoted our calendar from the stage at today's switch-on of the Burton Christmas lights.

Thanks to ALL the girls who took a turn on the stall - and thanks to Burton town Centre Management for their support.

Um, Miss November.... I think you have a new fan!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

From nuns to nudes

It's been a hectic week since the PINT craft fayre with many of the Burton Calendar Girls playing nuns in Little Theatre Company's production of The Sound of Music.

Carol, Vicky and Chris have been selling our calendars in the bar before and after all the performances - and special mention must go to our good friend, and honorary Calendar Girl, Kate who achieved record sales on Thursday night.

The nuns have been having a great time backstage. Some of them follow very suitable nun-like pursuits - like our bible-reading 'Sister' Dawn, a Miss March.

Others sit in quiet contemplation and do a spot of crocheting. Like Sister Cait (a Miss December) and Sister Tilley (a Miss October).

Pausing to occasionally burst into song.

But soon we'll be saying 'goodbye' to Nonnberg Abbey and 'hello' to Calendar Girls rehearsals.

The cast has been announced - and we'll bring you the news about that in the coming weeks. Rehearsals for our March 2013 production of Calendar Girls start on Tuesday November 27.

Tomorrow, after helping take down the set and pack away the costumes, we'll be selling our calendars at the official switch-on of Burton-on-Trent's Christmas lights. Come and find us in the market place.

Then, on Wednesday three of us are guest speakers at Egginton WI.

Meanwhile, please support our efforts to raise as much money as possible for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. Donations are always welcome if (for any reason) you don't want a calendar.

Find out the latest places to buy a calendar by clicking the link at the top of this page called "How To Buy A Calendar".

As you know, our calendar reflects a theatrical theme, and as we've not given away any secrets from the calendar so far - here's the December shot of us all looking over programmes from past Little Theatre Company shows. From nuns to nudes...... it's all in a day's work for the Burton Calendar Girls.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

New Burton market is christened in style

What an amazing event the PINT Arts Festival Craft and Artisan Market was in Burton-on-Trent yesterday.

Organiser Alistair Kennedy deserves a medal as he powered through the day having had just 40 minutes sleep because on Friday night he was among those taking part in Burton YMCA's Sleep Out. And let's not forget Burton Town Centre Management and The Making House who also helped make yesterday such a great success.

There was a great range of quality stalls selling unusual and beautiful gifts and cards, cakes, chocolate, chutneys and jams, clothes and jewellery - the list went on and on. The event was superbly well organised and promoted and I hope it bodes well for the future success of Burton's traditional market stall holders when they take over those new pitches on Station Street which we christened yesterday.

The Burton Calendar Girls had a great day. We met some lovely people and had lots of support. Here are Carol and Dawn during their shifts.

Dawn and me, Heather, Karen and Katie, Tilley and Bethan were splitting our time between the stall and The Brewhouse where the set crew had a busy day building mountains, a convent and the residence of the Von Trapp family ready for tomorrow's opening night of Little Theatre Company's The Sound of Music.

Carol will be the one organising our big calendar selling operation at every performance of the show - so there's plenty of time to come down to The Brewhouse any night this week and buy a calendar and chat with Carol about our calendar girl experience. Now, it's back to the Brewhouse again for a Sound of Music double dress rehearsal. See you again soon!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Extreme calendar selling

We have eight days of 'extreme calendar selling' on the horizon and are hoping for lots of support from the people of Burton and district.

We start on Saturday (November 10) when a number of the girls are taking turns to sell calendars at the Burton Craft Fair and Artisan Market being held in Station Street, in Burton town centre. HUGE thanks to Burton Creative Network who have generously let us have some space on their stall for free.

The market runs from 10am until about 4pm and will host lots of  quality stalls. Here's a picture of the stalls being put in place which Burton Creative Network shared on its Facebook Page this week.

It's going to be a busy day as most of the girls are also appearing in The Sound of Music next week for our Little Theatre Company. On Saturday they are fitting calendar selling shifts in around trying on costumes and some technical rehearsals.

Then, throughout the run of The Sound of Music (Monday November 12 - Saturday November 17) calendars will be on sale before, during and after every 7.30pm performance and the Saturday matinee at 2.30pm at The Brewhouse, Union Street.

Tickets for the show are in very short supply. The popularity of this Rodgers and Hammerstein favourite clearly never fades and the Friday night and Saturday afternoon shows are already sold out. A few tickets remain for other performances - so call the box office on 01283-508100 for latest availability.

BUT, remember, even if you've NOT got a ticket we'd love to see you in the bar of the Brewhouse where Carol, Vicky and Chris - who all appear in the calendar - will be leading the sales drive. You would be welcome to drop in for a calendar, a drink from the bar and you can also enjoy the handiwork of artist David Booth who is currently working on the world's largest sculpture (we think) made from beermats as part of the PINT Arts Festival.

Many other girls from the calendar appear as nuns in The Sound of Music - no typecasting there, then!

There's no peace when the show ends on Saturday November 17 - as after the 'take down' on Sunday morning (when we dismantle the set, gather up the props and pack up the costumes) some of the girls will be selling calendars at the official Burton Christmas Lights Switch-on from 12 noon in the town centre. Thanks again to Burton Town Centre Management for the support.

The only expense we have had is the calendar printing - thanks to the generosity of our support team and our Burton supporters. EVERY other penny raised will go to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

Our full colour calendars cost just £8 each.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Burton Calendar Girls reach America

Elaine here, reporting that a link to our Burton Calendar Girls blog has appeared on a website about pets and crafting in the USA.

You may know that Carol - who writes many of these blog posts - is a talented quilter who has made beautiful bags and quilts for friends and family and also donated them as much sought-after prizes for Little Theatre Company raffles.

Knowing about my blog for Winnie the Greyhound she made me a special bag from material decorated with dogs which I offered as a prize on Winnie's blog - and it was won by Lori who writes a lovely blog called What Remains Now.
Lori knew that Carol and I were working together on the Calendar Girls calendar project so generously gave us a mention and a link when the bag arrived with her in Indiana.

Lori loves the bag - and Carol loves that it's found such a good home in America. Random acts of kindness are great, aren't they?

Meanwhile, if you know any blogs or websites who might like to link to us - do give us a shout. The more people who know about us and buy a calendar the more we can raise for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research - a charity working so hard to beat blood cancers.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Playwright Tim Firth supports Burton Calendar Girls

Bethan Waite, one of the brave ladies in our calendar, took a trip to Frodsham Literature Festival where she had the good fortune to be introduced to Tim Firth - the award-winning writer of the play Calendar Girls.

Tim is patron of the festival, known as Weaver Words, and was more than happy to chat to Bethan about his play, Little Theatre Company's production of it in March 2013 and our current charity calendar project.

Bethan said: "I asked him, 'Please write more plays with such wonderful parts for women in' - and he said that was one of the reasons that he wrote Calendar Girls in the first place."

He also co-wrote the screenplay for the 2003 film which starred Helen Mirren and Julie Walters.

Tim's own website is being very generous in its support for the hundreds of amateur productions of Calendar Girls going ahead in the coming 18 months.

The evening after Bethan met Tim and his wife, the Firths were going to the amateur premiere of Calendar Girls which took place in Grassington - the village where the real Womens' Institute did that first naked calendar.

He told Bethan that was definitely the ONLY production he would be going to see. His mother was due to appear in an amateur production, he revealed - but he wasn't even planning to watch that.

Tim did sign a couple of good luck messages for us which we'll add to the front of house displays when we stage the play next March. Meanwhile, remember to keep an eye on our How to Buy A Calendar page here to see how and where you can buy your own Burton Calendar Girls calendar for yourself, a friend or a relative as an unforgettable Christmas present.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

A HUGE thank you

A few weeks ago I went with hubby Ken and one of our own calendar girls, Vicky, to see the touring production of Calendar Girls at Derby Assembly Rooms. As a group we'd all been to see the same production last July as our director John had wanted to get our confirmation that we were all game to do this production next March. It really is a wonderful production and I'd forgotten just how hilariously funny it is but has the ability to take you from laughter to poignancy in a heartbeat.

During one of our coffee meetings Elaine had posed the question did we think that if we put together a poster we could get the professional cast of Calendar Girls to sign it for us so that we could raffle it to make a little more money for the charity? Well my thoughts were that, if you don't ask, you don't get. So we put together a poster with a picture of our "robed" Calendar girls and at the last minute I decided to enclose one of our Calendars too, just so that hopefully they would see what a professional job we'd done and that the cast would sign it.

So, on the night we went to see the show I left the posters and calendar with the front of house staff and kept everything crossed. On the last night of the tour I received a phone call from the Tour Manager to say that the cast had indeed signed the poster, I was delighted. So my dear hubby tootled off to the Assembly Rooms to collect the envelope. What a great bunch the cast were! Not only did they sign the posters but they signed our calendar too! Such a wonderful surprise and we are truly appreciative of that gesture. So, at some point in the not too distant future we will indeed be raffling off now, not only a signed poster but also a signed copy of our calendar, now surely that has to be worth buying a ticket for.

We have so many events coming up in the near future so please keep checking the blog and spread the word.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Burton Calendar Girls to grace the House of Commons

Andrew Griffiths, the MP for Burton and Uttoxeter, is well-known for supporting good causes in the town so we were delighted when he 'tweeted' us to ask how he could help us sell our calendars and raise as much as possible for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

The result was a photocall outside The Brewhouse where our calendar pictures were shot on a theatrical theme, with as many as the girls as could make themselves available on a Friday afternoon.

Andrew was quick to buy a calendar - and add a donation, for which we are very grateful - and he PROMISES us that our calendar will be hanging on his office wall at the House of Commons throughout 2013!

Goodness me!

Huge thanks to Andrew, to Burton Mail photographer Simon Deacon who took the picture, and to the Burton Mail who have featured it on page three (where else?) of the newspaper tonight.

If you want to get your own copy of the calendar everyone is talking about - go to our How To Buy a Calendar page on this blog.

Remember, you can follow Burton Calendar Girls on Twitter here.

You can follow Andrew Griffiths MP on Twitter here.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

New places to buy your Calendar Girl calendars

Thanks to all the Burton creatives who supported us by buying calendars at this week's meeting of Outline - a free networking group for those working or volunteering in the creative industries in and around East Staffordshire.

Guest speaker at the meeting was Alistair Kennedy of the Burton Creative Network - who is masterminding the PINT Contemporary Arts Festival which takes place in Burton Upon Trent during October and November.

Venues across the town, including 107 Station Street, the National Brewery Centre, and a number of pubs will host a range of events and exhibitions during the festival. The aim is to break down barriers and get the public involved with art that is honest, warm and unpretentious.

Performers will include Sinai Theatre - a new company featuring our own 'Miss April', Hannah Mason.

We are hugely grateful to Alistair for offering us the chance to boost the funds we raise for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research by selling our calendars at a Craft Fair and Artisan Market being held as part of the Pint Arts Festival in the pedestrianised part of Station Street on Saturday November 10.

Also at the Outline meeting was Anna Roebuck, who runs The Making House in Winshill - a gem of a place that is still a well-kept secret to many townspeople. The Making House, at 50 Bearwood Hill Road, hosts regular arts and crafts workshops and exhibitions and has a wonderful gift shop selling unusual and beautiful cards and gifts. Anna also runs Bags 2 Riches, a business making Fair Trade jewellery, lights and artwork created from recycled plastic bags. We are delighted that Anna has offered to stock our calendars in her gift shop which is open from 10am to 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

We will continue to update the page on this blog that lists all the places where you can buy a calendar.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Back to the Calendar Girl roots

As you will probably know, the Calendar Girls story began 13 years ago when the members of Rylstone and District Women's Institute decided to strip off for a charity calendar with a difference after the husband of one of the women died from leukaemia.

Since then they have raised an amazing £13 million.

We are thrilled to have been invited to speak to two local Womens' Institute groups - Egginton WI and Burton Belles WI - about our own journey.

Burton Belles held an open evening this week, when Elaine popped down to meet some of the ladies. It was extremely busy at the St John Ambulance HQ where they meet. But they still found time to buy a few calendars, and a few more will be on sale at their October meeting.

We are very happy to consider taking our calendars and a little stall to any events or meetings in and around Burton - although we don't have a budget to pay for stalls I'm afraid. But we'd be happy to send along a couple of the girls to give a talk. Get in touch on Twitter or via our Facebook Page if you are interested in having a Burton calendar Girl or two at your organisation or event.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Fund for Mel reaches £200,000

Congratulations to Burton Calendar Girls supporter Ian Leech who has seen the fund he and his family established in memory of daughter Mel - who died from non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma - hit the £200,000 mark.

You may remember that Carol and Elaine recently met Ian - and got to hold the Olympic Torch he ran with through the streets of our home town - Burton-on-Trent.

Mel died in 2008 and since then Ian has worked closely with the Lymphoma Association - who gave his family such important support in the dark days of Mel's illness - raising both funds and greater awareness of Lymphoma.

The total raised through the Melissa Leech Lymphoma Association Tribute Fund currently stands at £20,823.

Read more about how this milestone in fundraising was reached here on the Burton Mail website.

You can find out more about Mel at the website Mad4Mel.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Burton Calendar Girls launch - a great success

We were thrilled with the success of our launch day - 10% of all our calendars were sold!

It was a busy, exciting and slightly exhausting day at The Brewhouse yesterday where we sold our calendars form 10 am to 10pm.

It was great to see so many people and chat to them about our project. Thanks for all the lovely messages of support we had on Facebook and Twitter from local businesses - and local figures such as our MP Andrew Griffiths and Lymphoma Association fundraiser Ian Leech.

We're now re-grouping and working out the best way to offer calendars for sale inbetween various special events we have planned.

We will be selling them throughout the week of Little Theatre Company's production of The Sound Of Music in November, and before that we'll also be selling them at local business networking groups that some of our Calendar Girls belong to - including Burton Business Club, the Burton Women In Business Network group and Women in Rural Enterprises.

Keep an eye on this blog for more information about how and where to get your copy of the calendar.

Meanwhile, do enjoy this behind-the-scenes video, with footage shot by Elaine Pritchard at our June photoshoot and edited by Tilley Bancroft of Red Door Studios.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Tomorrow, tomorrow, is only a day away......

Tomorrow, September 1st is a very exciting and  long awaited day for the LittleTheatre Company ladies, it’s the day we launch our Calendar Girls calendar. This has been such an interesting journey for all of us and we’re delighted that finally everyone will be able to see what we’ve achieved.  Coincidentally tomorrow is also the day that the amateur rights to the play “Calendar Girls” is being released. Little Theatre Company are delighted that they’re able to perform this wonderfully inspiring play in March 2013.

For those who don’t  know the story the play was written and based on a true story. Because of  Beryl Balmforth, one of the original Calendar Girls  and Grassington Players member, the Yorkshire Dales amateur theatre company have the honour of being the first company to perform Calendar Girls, tonight, Friday 31st August, the day before the official amateur rights are released.

Mrs Balmforth will not appear in this production but she said that as a story beginning in the Yorkshire Dales she felt it only fitting that it should start its amateur life there. John Baker, whose death in 1998 inspired the original calendar was also a member of Grassington Players. The Little Theatre Company and our own Calendar Girls wish Grassington Players “Break a leg” for tonight’s  performance, it will  undoubtedly be especially poignant for them.

We hope that people will pop into the Brewhouse tomorrow from 10am until 10pm when they can enjoy  the wonderful  entertainment provided at Little Theatre Company's   Playathon and of course buy  your Calendars hot off the press.

Calendars are priced at £8. We can accept cash or cheques but not card payments unfortunately.

We look forward to seeing  everyone then.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Our baby is born

Today our baby was finally born and Essential Print Services carefully packed them and sent them on their merry way. To say we're all very excited doesn't even come close.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

How to be a calendar girl (or boy)

In Burton shop windows you will have seen lots of posters displayed for the touring professional production of the play Calendar Girls which comes to Derby in September - details and how to book are here.

We saw this cast perform the play in Nottingham last year and we can thoroughly recommend their version. A few people have glanced at the posters and asked if it was OUR show. We don't take to the stage at The Brewhouse until March - but you'll be able to read all about our show and its rehearsals on this blog nearer the time.

Anyway, to promote the Derby production - which takes place between September 24-29 at The Assembly Rooms - Derby Live is running a competition encouraging daring theatregoers to get their kit off and strike a Calendar Girls-style pose.

If you want to take part, you need to send your entry to: Be A Calendar Girl or Boy Competition, Derby Live, Assembly Rooms, Market Place, Derby, DE1 3AH with your full name and contact numbers before the closing date of Fri 7 Sep.

Derby Live will then judge all the entries and pick four favourites as finalists. Those finalists will then be invited to see the show on Mon 24 Sep, where, along with a guest of their choice. They will meet the cast backstage afterwards. The ultimate winner will take home £50 worth of credit to use at Derby LIVE shows and events - oh and they might just be featured in the Derby Telegraph too.

There's more about the competition here on the Derby Live website.

Go on! Be brave! We can tell you from experience that it's great fun.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Ready to stuff?

As you'll know our "baby" is currently at the printers and will be hot off the press this coming Friday. As we're launching our Calendar at Little Theatre Company's Playathon on Saturday, the ladies have a fun night on Friday putting calendars into plastic bags. So, Calendar Girls if you're not doing anything Friday 31st August - 7pm please hotfoot it to the Brewhouse and lend a hand. I know you're all very excited to see the finished product, we have created something very special.

I would like to give a very special thanks to the Brewhouse and staff  for their generosity and help. It is very much appreciated.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Meet our very own print evangelist

There was great excitement at 'Burton Calendar Girls HQ' when we signed off the final proofs of our calendar.

Our 'baby' is now in the very safe hands of Essential Print Services, a Derby company who have been very generous and helpful in offering us a great deal for our print run of 1,000 calendars.

Here's Tilley (our photographer and calendar designer) collecting the proofs from Laura (pictured left) of Essential Print Services.

Calendar girls Tilley and Elaine both know Yvonne Gorman - owner and print evangelist of Essential Print Services - from local business networking groups and knew she would be the perfect person to entrust to the vital job of printing our calendar.

Yvonne and her team are passionate about print and know how to get the best results whether you are looking for stationery, business cards, brochures, trade show banners, flyers and leaflets or personalised promotional items. A bit like our Tilley, Yvonne's enthusiasm for what she does is obvious within seconds of meeting her and we would thoroughly recommend asking Essential Print Services for a quote next time you need any printing done. When you see the finished calendar I'm sure you'll see why.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

What a thrill

After speaking with Ian Leech yesterday we were thrilled to be able to see his Olympic torch and to have our pictures taken with it, it really is a beautiful design.

Friday, 10 August 2012

To carry an Olympic torch

Our Calendar is raising money for the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research Association – which works to find cures for these blood cancers – but there are many other wonderful charities working in similar fields.

Today Elaine and myself met with Ian Leech one of the Olympic torch bearers. To be chosen to do this is such an honour and Ian was awarded this honour for his huge efforts in raising awareness for the Lymphoma Association

Ian lost his daughter Melissa in May 2008 to non Hodgkins Lymphoma at the age of 20. During Mel’s battle both he and Mel wrote blogs as a way of dealing with their battle and to raise awareness. Many people seem aware of Leukaemia but much less so with Lymphoma.  After losing his beloved daughter Mel, Ian put all his efforts into finding ways to deal with his loss and so his journey began.

Lymphoma is the 5th largest cancer diagnosis and is most common in people under 30. The Lymphoma Association supports  anyone affected by lymphoma, friends, family and carers. They only deal with lymphoma and have an online site with forums and message boards for people who are looking for support and information.  Ian published a wonderful book in memory of Mel called “One day at a time- Mel’s story” and has his own website

Ian explained that being  given the honour of carrying the Olympic torch has given him the opportunity to visit many schools and talk about why he was chosen. He has also been a key speaker at many events which has enabled him to spread the word more widely about the LymphomaAssociation. He also give his time generously to many other charities and has a cycle ride from London to Paris coming up which would have been Mel’s 25th birthday.

We wish Ian every success in his future ventures to spread the word and make people more aware of the Lymphoma Association.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Almost there

Tomorrow afternoon Elaine, Tilley and myself will be meeting for what will be our final meeting before the Calendar goes for printing. The pictures have been taken, we decided who we need to thank on our Calendar, people who've given their time generously, Sheelagh who so magnificently made every one of us look so beautiful for our pictures, Elaine for her tireless work on our publicity and spreading the word.There are so many people that we're grateful to, Mike for his costume and prop contributions, Matt for his splendid lighting and helping to set up the theatre for us and Ken for his tea/coffee making. Most importantly we could not have done this without our wonderful Tilley, photographer extrordinaire, we cannot thank her enough for her tireless work in taking the pictures, her vision and patience and for all the work she's done since to ensure that we have the most stunning Calendar.

Tomorrow we'll check the proofs, make sure everything is in place and then we have to let our baby go to the printers. I know that we're all super excited to see the final product in its printed form. And so the next part of our adventure begins, we launch the Calendar on September 1st and our hopes for selling as many copies as we can to enable us to donate as much as we can to such a worthy cause. Now it's up to you, please support us and spread the word.
You can follow us on Twitter
'Like' us on Facebook and of course follow this blog for updates about the calendar and how to buy your own copy.

P.S: Here we are taking a final look at the calendar page proofs on Tilley's laptop. We're so pleased with the finished result.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Countdown to calendar launch

In recent years the Little Theatre Company - of which all the Burton Calendar Girls are proud to be members - has held a 'Playathon' every two years as our main fund-raising event for the company.

This year, as before, we'll be taking over the Brewhouse, in Union Street, Burton-on-Trent, for 12 hours between 10am and 10pm on Saturday September 1, and offering non-stop entertainment by our members.

And we can also reveal that this will also be the day when our calendar will launch!. It will be the first chance for anyone in Burton to buy one of these calendars - so if you pop in to the Brewhouse any time between 10am and 10pm you can snap up the first available calendars.

ALL the proceeds from the sale of these calendars will go to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. None of the money is going to LTC funds - but we thought by launching the calendar on Playathon day we could have 12 hours of non-stop calendar selling too to get this charity project off to a flying start.

girls of LTC from Calendar Girls calendar project

We would also love to see as many of you as possible at our Playathon on September 1. Admission is completely FREE - but we will be running an all-day tombola for Little Theatre Company funds. Entertainment will include lots of comedy sketches and music from a couple of our recent musical shows. There will also be a two-hour 1940s section with music, dancing and 1940s fun from 4.30pm to 6.30pm. The Brewhouse bar will be open and there will be coffee and cake, of course (See, with the Calendar Girls there's ALWAYS coffee and cake). We look forward to seeing you all. 

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

We've seen it - but you still have to wait

It's safe to say that the get-together at the Tutbury studios of our photographer Tilley Bancroft last night was a HUGE success.

Fuelled by Sonja's ginger cake, biscuits tea and coffee, the ladies nervously gathered to see the final shots chosen for the calendar.

And they loved them!!

But I'm afraid to say that the rest of you have to wait until later in the year when the calendar is printed and launched. We'll have some more details for you about that.

After all the excitement of the 'reveal'  most of us headed off to local pub, The Dog and Partridge for a drink to make the most of the warm summer evening.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The touring company is coming to Derby

If you've never seen the professional production of Calendar girls then you're in for a treat, it's coming to Derby in September this year. Many of us in the Little Theatre Company went to see this production last year at Nottingham and it's a stellar cast and one not to be missed. Check out Derby Live for full dates and prices.

Calendar Girls by Tim Firth

The global phenomenon comes to Derby

Calendar Girls by Tim Firth Calendar Girls has been the fastest selling tour ever and has triumphed in the West End. Now, it's coming to Derby starring Lesley Joseph as Miss October, Sue Holderness as Miss February, Ruth Madoc as Miss March, Kathryn Rooney as Miss September, Camilla Dallerup as Miss May, Helen Fraser as Miss January, Deena Payne as Miss July and Kacey Ainsworth as Miss November, with Kevin Sacre as Lawrence the photographer
A group of ordinary women do something extraordinary and spark a global phenomenon when they persuade one another to pose for a charity calendar with a difference! Based on an inspiring true story and the smash hit film, Calendar Girls is quirky, poignant and hilarious. Calendar Girls has sold out in every theatre it's visited before opening. Don't miss out and book today for the show the Mail on Sunday said is "marvellous theatre, guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and come out singing Jerusalem!"
"A show I could see over and over again - and I hope I will!" Sir Cliff Richard
"Lots of laughs and a few tears. This show should be on everyone's calendar" June Whitfield CBE
"Funny, charming and a touching tribute to the fundraising efforts of a group of extraordinary, ordinary women" Ian Hislop

Great Hall

Monday 24 September to Saturday 29 September

7.30pm, Wed & Sat Matinee 2.30pm

Tickets: £15.25 - £28.25. Mon–Thu evening/Sat Mat £17.25–£26.25, Fri & Sat evening £19.25–£28.25, Wed Mat £15.25–£23.25
Concessions: Tickets cost more when booked via telephone or in person at box office. See our Ts & Cs for details.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Burton Calendar Girls on social media

Well, now we've done the brave bit and had our photos taken, the next challenge is making sure we sell ALL the print run and raise lots of money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

So, with that in mind we're spreading the word on social media and we'd be really pleased if you would become our fan on Facebook...

...and follow us on Twitter.

It's two more ways to stay in touch with all the news as we continue along the route to seeing our calendar published. We'd love to hear from you - so do feel free to leave a comment on this blog, send us a tweet or post on our Page.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Almost there

Having decided on the 12 shots for the Calendar, Elaine, Tilley and myself had a get together last Friday to decide on the final layout of the Calendar. Tilley has designed the most wonderful front cover and we decided that the back cover would be "dressing gown" shots of each of us as we were preparing for our pictures to be taken. We wanted also to make sure that we thanked everyone that we needed to thank, some very wonderful and generous people have given their resources and their valuable time to make this the best it could be. Briefly, Tilley, Sheelagh and Elaine but so many more people we're very grateful to. We know that the finished Calendar will be something we will all be very proud of.

We had also decided that it would be nice if every lady had a souvenir of their own picture, so in a couple of weeks time we're all meeting at Tilley's Red Door Studios where everyone can see all the pictures taken and choose which one they'd like for posterity. We're anticipating that that will be a fun night and afterwards we shall be visiting a local hostelry to raise a glass to a job well done.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

And Miss January is.........?

What a difficult task Elaine, Tilley and myself had last week. As is the norm Ken was on coffee duty and my dining room was the scene of some serious deliberations. Tilley had all the shots she'd taken and our task was to whittle them down to a few and then choose the best photograph of each pose. You'd think that would've been fairly easy to do, no such luck, every single picture taken could've gone in the Calendar, Tilley's pictures were unbelievable, the difference that her terrific lighting made without doubt, made every single shot.

 To put everything on a fair playing field and so that Elaine, Tilley and myself didn't get to choose our own pictures, Tilley and myself chose the shot of Elaine, to see Elaine sitting there hugging a teddy bear with an excrutiating look on her face while the two of us picked over her shots was hilarious, too bad I didn't have my camera to capture that expression. Of course then Tilley and I had to wait with bated breath while Elaine chose our shot. Two hours later and after much deliberation we finally had our 12 amazing poses.

And so to choose who should star in which month, our idea behind this was largely taken to make the calendar as interesting as possible, to fit in each month so that it flowed nicely with the month before and so here is the final selection.

January           -     Elaine
February         -     Joyce
March             -     Katie,Jane, Chris, Dawn
April               -     Hannah
May                -     Karen
June                -     Jodie and Sarah
July                 -    Vicky
August            -     Sonja
September      -     Bethan
October          -     Carol and Tilley
November       -     Heather
December       -     The Girls

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Here come the girls.......

The first shot taken on Sunday at our photo shoot, this is as much as you get unless you buy the Calendar later in the year. Aren't we a fine bunch?

Monday, 11 June 2012


Oh my goodness, where to start. 9am yesterday our ladies arrived at the Brewhouse, there was an awful lot of " what the heck are we doing?" " did we really say we'd do this?" But they all came armed with dressing gowns ( we didn't need clothes) food and drink and all with smiles and laughter.

We had a little pre-shoot chat when Tilley explained how the day would go. We decided to do our group shot in the auditorium first so that everyone could get in the mood and help lose their inhibitions a little. Sheelagh, our wonderful make up lady was on standby to start making us beautiful. So, bedecked in our dressing gowns Tilley arranged us and with only a Little Theatre Company programme to hide our modesty Tilley said those words "Ok ladies let's do it, take off your robes", without hesitation every one of us stood up and got naked, I can't begin to tell  you how unbelievably proud of everyone I was, we just did it, posed with our programmes and "Voila", shot number one done. We had decided that I would go first with Tilley, followed by Elaine, leading by example and hopefully letting the ladies know what they were in for. Everyone stayed in the auditorium the whole day and cheered each one of us on as we had our pose photographed.

The poses we had decided on, all based on a theatrical theme looked absolutely amazing, everyone of our ladies totally entered into the spirit, did what had to be done. Tilley of Red Door studios is an amazing photographer and her lighting was second to none. Whilst most of us were not allowed to look at our shots once Tilley had taken them, I did see some of them on the computer as she took them and I was totally blown away by them, her lighting of each shot made them look stunning. I know the ladies can't wait to see the shots but I know they'll be delighted with them.

There are so many people to thank, Sheelagh for giving up her day to make us all look so beautiful with her make up, that was greatly appreciated, Elaine and Caittom Publishing for providing us with Bucks Fizz and delicious wine, Bethan for her valiant efforts with Pimms and everyone else who bought goodies to make our day special. Thanks also to Matt and Ken for their lifting of heavy objects and for all the running around they did to help us. The biggest thank you and I know this comes from every one of us is for Tilley, who worked so tirelessly throughout the day, she's like the Energiser bunny, just doesn't stop and I know that the finished Calendar will be stunning, her talents are endless and we're very lucky to have her on our team.

Who'd have thought that over a year ago when Elaine and myself were having coffee one day and I said " hmmm wouldn't it be fun to a Calendar?" and Elaine say " now that's an idea" that we have actually done it and to raise, we hope, an awful lot of money for such a worthwhile cause.

There were a few little emotional moments yesterday during the shoot when I think we all realised what an amazing thing we'd just done, such a liberating and bonding thing, we're a very close group of women anyway but for us all to do this was wonderful. My huge thanks to every single one of  you who "bared" all and made yesterday such a truly special day,I am so very proud of all of you.

I'm posting this one picture, a sample of one of our shots, this was taken on Saturday when Tilley was setting up the lighting and I volunteered to stand in for the pose, of course lovely Heather was the one who did the actual pose and of course not fully dressed, but I hope you can get a feel for how wonderful Tilley's lighting was.

Now Tilley's work really begins as she has to edit the pictures and we'll make the final decision which ones goes on the Calendar, of course if you want to see how it turns out then you're going to have to buy a Calendar.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Lights, camera, action

Ok well for the moment let's just say lights. Costumes, props taken down to the Brewhouse this morning, Tilley delighted at the stash I brought from Mike's room. Ken and Matt valiantly moved the extremely heavy piano into position on the stage for tomorrow. Tilley has an eye for exactly the lighting she wants and of course lovely Matt, being the technician knows exactly how to achieve that for her. Now I'm thinking, from the pose that maybe Matt would also like to be on the Calendar.