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Calendar Girls: 10 years on...

The award winning Colchester calendar manufacturer, Rose Calendars, goes back in time this week. Managing Director Michael Rose has been approached by the BBC to share his take on the phenomenal success of the original Calendar Girls and its impact on the calendar industry as a whole. The live radio interview is due to be broadcast on BBC4’s "You and Yours” this Wednesday, 29th April, at 12 noon.

The Calendar Girls story in short: Eleven middle-aged ladies from Rylstone, a quaint little village in Yorkshire, most of them members of the local WI, strip off for a charity calendar. The idea for the infamous calendar, which became known around the world and has been turned into a Hollywood blockbuster, and more recently a West End stage show, is this month celebrating its 10th anniversary. A special 2010 re-launch version of the calendar features six of the original cast but uses new photography. The background to the original calendar, though, is bittersweet: Angela Baker, or Miss February 2000, had lost her husband, John Richard Baker, to Hodgkin’s lymphoma in July 1998. As part of their annual project of producing the WI calendar and keen to do some good in John’s memory, Angela and several friends came up with the idea for an alternative WI calendar, posing in the nude. At the time, the group were hoping to raise enough money to buy a sofa for the hospital in which John had been treated. Due to their ongoing success, they have to date raised a staggering £1.5 million for Leukaemia Research. Their amazing achievement even earned the "girls” a special Thank You from the Prince of Wales.

Many charities, voluntary organisations and schools use calendars each year to raise much needed money to fund their work. Using a personalised calendar is one of the most cost effective, targeted and visible forms of advertising there is. Getting your message – whether charity appeal or straight forward advertising of your products or services – seen by many, every day of the year, is only one of its many advantages.

Rose Calendars have been producing calendars for over a century now and have much expertise in the production of bespoke calendars. Over the years, the company has worked with many charities, like The Rotary Club, The British Lung Foundation, and many other, often local charities and schools, producing their charity and fundraising calendars. The family business has a long standing history of supporting charities: the founder of the company, the late George Rose, became well known in the community as a philanthropist. He funded a ward at the Essex County Hospital, known as the George Rose Ward, was the main benefactor for the construction of 21 alms houses and regularly contributed to other local charities in Colchester during his lifetime. His nephew, the late Richard Rose, ran a total of 35 marathons for charity, followed in later life by many sponsored long distance walks. Their contributions to many different causes raised large sums of money desperately needed.

Today, the company carries on the tradition by working closely with the local St. Helena’s Hospice and other charitable organisations.

In addition to the radio interview mentioned above, BBC1 are showing a television documentary about the Calendar Girls on Wednesday, 29th April, at 10.45 p.m., though coverage is only local for the North of England.

For more detailed information on the complete Rose Calendars product range, please contact us.

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