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Lanark's 'Calendar Girls' raise £11,000 for Breast Cancer Now

Breast of Yoga Friends

Ten ladies from Lanark yoga classes have raised £11,000 for Breast Cancer Now from sales of their revealing 2020 calendar.

Photo by Vicky Harrison Photography. 

The yogis, aged from 58 to 83, where spurred into action after two of the group and another member’s daughter were diagnosed with the disease within a few months of each other.

Ann Martin from Carluke was instrumental in bringing the ‘Breast of Friends’ together and coordinating the calendar project which has the ladies performing different yoga poses in various unusual locations including fields, parks and gardens -  showing ‘quite a bit of flesh’, whilst keeping their modesty intact.

Every month the calendar also includes an inspiring quote along with some facts about breast cancer.

Ann said: “We wanted it to be an inspiration for anyone affected by cancer.

“We had absolutely no idea how it would be received, but we have been overwhelmed by the response.”

Almost 1,500 calendars were sold through friends and family and on stalls set up at Lanark Lifestyles, local shops and businesses and Christmas fayres – with some winging their way to far off places including Australia, New Zealand and China.

Around 55,000 women and 350 men are diagnosed with the breast cancer in the UK every year and despite decades of progress in research and care around 11,500 women and 850 men die from the disease every year.

Ann explained how the enormity of these numbers hit home when selling the calendars.

She said: “Every second person has a story to tell you and then they just put their hand in their pocket – sometimes they didn’t even want a calendar they just put in a donation because so many people are affected.

“I found it really humbling.”

Breast Cancer Now’s ambition is that by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live and be supported to live well.

Kirsty Potter, community fundraising manager at Breast Cancer Now in Scotland, said: “We want to send a huge thank you to Ann and all of the ladies involved with the calendar for raising an impressive £11,000 to help support Breast Cancer Now. Right now, around 4,700 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in Scotland. The money raised will help us to fund life-saving breast cancer research and life-changing support for people affect by the disease.”

The calendar took six months to produce and Ann had her work cut out for her arranging photoshoots around the model’s summer holidays, photographer availability and the weather – although it wasn’t always possible to arrange the later.

Ann said: “Some of them [photographs] were taken in pretty bad weather, because people were available and we just had to do it, to the extent that we had helpers standing by with hot water bottles and dressing gowns at some of the outdoor locations.

“It was perishing, even in summer and wasn’t for the faint hearted.”

In the midst of the busy schedule one of the women affected also had to fit in an appearance on ITV’s Lorraine show.

It was after following advice from the show’s Dr Hilary she discovered she had breast cancer and was invited on air to tell her story.

The fundraising group also hosted a cheese and wine evening at the Harry Smith Centre last October, attracting around 150 people and set up a tombola stall at Lanark Lifestyles.

The ‘calendar girls’ are very appreciative of everyone who supported their campaign enabling them to raise such a fantastic sum.

For more information on Breast Cancer Now’s work visit www.breastcancernow.org.

Article submitted by Alison Gilchrist.