Steph Cade
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The Girls musical Gala night dazzles for Bloodwise

Steph Cade
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23 Feb 2017

Monday (20 Feb) saw The Girls musical Gala night take place - a culmination of a show over five years in the making.

Gary Barlow, Tim Firth, the original Calendar Girls, royalty, celebrities, tears and laughter; Monday’s Bloodwise Gala of The Girls musical had it all.

Ahead of the celebratory evening, we treated a group of patients, many of whom are now Bloodwise Ambassadors, and their families to afternoon tea in Soho, including seven-year-old Andrew and eight-year-old Ollie, who met at hospital whilst both undergoing treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Angela and Ore on tea-pouring duties with Andrew and Ollie

Strictly winner Ore Oduba, journalist John Sergeant and original Calendar Girls Angela, Beryl, Chris and Tricia joined us for cake and sandwiches, charmingly chatting with patients and their families, helping to pour the tea to backdrop of bunting and sunflowers, inspired by the musical’s village fete scene.


Bloodwise Ambassadors with John Sergeant & Ore Oduba

Ore said: "It was a real privilege to sit with the families whose lives have been changed thanks to the tireless work Bloodwise does. Tea with the original Calendar Girls? What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon!"

Ore took time out to dance in the streets of Soho with Andrew, Sissy – who had childhood leukaemia – and Angela, whose husband’s death from non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 1998 sparked the idea of the ‘alternative’ WI calendar. Much to the delight of the on looking public, the group were twirling and whirling in the street with sunflowers, a favourite of Angela’s husband John.

Sissy putting her best foot forward with Ore, Andrew & Angela

Kat Tsang-Orr, who is in remission from non-Hodgkin lymphoma said: “To meet so many others, whilst eating lots of cake, with different stories about how they are and have been affected by blood cancer was inspiring, and reinforces that you’re never alone.”

Read more about the afternoon tea on Charity Today.

After their fill of cake the group headed up the ‘green carpet’ to the Phoenix Theatre towards a sea of photographers, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Graham Norton, Michael Ball, Mel Geidroyc and Phillip Schofield, as well as members of the Royal Family, Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex and His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent, Bloodwise Royal Patron.

Four of the original Calendar Girls, Chris, Angela, Beryl & Ros, with Gary Barlow

Michael Ball with Graham Norton


HRH The Countess of Wessex with Angela Baker, and Angela her daughter and son, Rachel & Matthew

Original Calendar Gir ls with Phillip Schofield

Tricia meets HRH The Duke of Kent, Bloodwise Royal Patron

The glamour and buzz continued into the following evening – the official opening night – as we welcomed Lulu, Dannii Minogue, Pixie Lott, Martin Kemp and Leslie Joseph. Both nights generated a huge amount of noise around the musical and it's support for Bloodwise, including in The Sun and ITV Calendar.

The show itself is a glorious display of friendship and love, and a powerfully raw portrayal of loss and its effect on a whole community, of all ages. It was also wonderful to see the original ladies, together with John and Angela's son and daughter - Matthew and Rachel - singing their hearts out on stage at the end with the cast, Tim and Gary. 

It is a real pleasure for us to be so closely involved in this musical. The charity is not only benefitting from bucket collections and merchandise sales after each performance, but from the spotlight that the show is shining so brightly on the impact that blood cancer has on loved ones, as well as patients.

As Angela Baker says: “It is such a joy to see the amount of money raised for Bloodwise continue to grow. I know John would have been very, very proud.”

For tickets please visit

If you're interested in volunteering to help with bucket collections at the musical, please email us.