Charity calendar in gran’s memory

CALANDER GIRLS: top left, Hayley Gough, Joyce Freeman, Cheryl Smith, Rita Burke and Carole Armstrong and front Samantha Davison.
CALANDER GIRLS: top left, Hayley Gough, Joyce Freeman, Cheryl Smith, Rita Burke and Carole Armstrong and front Samantha Davison.
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A FAMILY has stripped for a saucy Calendar Girls-style photo to help raise awareness of the cancer which claimed the life of a loved-one.

Daughters and grand-daughters of Hartlepool woman Doreen Lancaster, who died of lung cancer in 2008, posed just like the stars of the famous film and spin-off stage show.

“My mum always liked a laugh,” said Doreen’s daughter Rita Burke. “I think she would have loved this.”

Doreen’s daughter Joyce Freeman, 50, from Blackhall, joined her sisters Rita, 56, and Carole Armstrong, 48, and granddaughters Cheryl Gough-Smith, 30, Hayley Gough, 28, and Samantha Davison, 27, all from Sunderland, for the tribute to the 73-year-old.

“We all just got together and decided it was a nice idea,” said shop worker Rita. “But nobody really knew anything about it except us. I’ve no idea what my workmates will think about it.”

Calendar Girls is inspired by the true story of a group of extraordinary women, all members of an ordinary WI, who persuade one another to pose for a charity calendar.

When the ladies stripped off in 1998 they had no idea they would spark a global phenomenon.

As well as books, a film and stage show based on their idea, they have managed to raise £3m for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

“We’ve always been big fans of the film and the stage show,” said mum-of-three Rita. “I was lucky enough to meet Lynda Bellingham, who used to star in the show, at a charity hospice lunch in Roker.”