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Impact Day 2014 – An amateur Calendar Girl’s Perspective

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08 May 2014

“Hey people, would you be up for volunteering to do a couple of minutes of acting to camera to help us beat blood cancer?” asked Ellie, “No pay, but a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. And a cup of tea.”

Well, obviously the tea clinched it, and 5 of us duly turned up at the Eagle Street offices after work one evening to film the videos. Ellie explained her idea to us, but we had no real feeling for what the finished article was going to look like.

Until two years ago, I really had no idea what leukaemia was. “Is it a type of skin cancer?” I’d heard of the Leukaemia Research Fund (even though it had already changed its name by then), mainly through the film of Calendar Girls, but didn’t have a clue what they did. Then the amateur rights to the play were released, and my little drama group in South London took up the challenge to put on a production. Ellie, by now serendipitously working for LLR, set up a Facebook group for all the amateur shows, and suddenly an online community existed of hundreds of people talking, mostly about their productions (“so how, exactly, are we doing THAT scene?”), but also many stories of friends and families, and in some cases, the members themselves, who had suffered from one form of blood cancer or another.

Our production of Calendar Girls was 19 months ago now, in October 2012, and was one of a large number to produce our own calendar to raise funds for LLR, and the memory of it will stay with me, hence I jumped at the chance to help the charity again with this video, and I went along to Impact Day, to see the final product. Okay, I wanted to see myself on telly! However, I stayed for the day, and was incredibly impressed with all the speakers.

From a history of LLR, through the current research, to Kris Griffin’s inspiring patient’s perspective, via Kirsty Crozier’s amusing nurse’s anecdotes, I was riveted. Although I do have a confession: the only science O Level I took was chemistry. Which I failed. I might have realised that blood cells aren’t really a conveniently contrasting red and blue, and chromosome 21 looks like a Rorschach inkblot test where the ink dried up before there was enough on the paper, so I’m afraid most of those sciencey bits went straight over my head.

Finally, I got to meet three of the real calendar girls, Tricia, Christine and Ros. I took the part of Chris in the play, so to meet the real Chris in the form of Tricia was the icing on the cake. I’ll no doubt be meeting them again at the LLR Calendar Girls Afternoon Tea in Harrogate on 11th May!

Oh, and the five videos charting the history of leukaemia and lymphoma research? Excellent.


Ellie Dawes

Erm I think I also provided biscuits and mini rolls! It was a veritable banquet at LLR HQ :)

Thanks so much Ali, and all the actors who volunteered for the videos to make the Impact Day exhibition really special. The videos will be available to watch on our YouTube channel very soon, so watch this space!


Great blog Alison!  

Delighted to hear that you enjoyed Impact Day and really looking forward to seeing you again at the Afternoon Tea... It looks set to be a fantastic afternoon.

See you Sunday!



Super blog Alison!

It was great to meet you at Impact Day and thought you did an amazing job with the video. Hats off to you, too, for the Calendar Girls production - I don' t think I've got the guts to get up on the stage let alone bare all whilst doing it at the same time!


Ah, Andy, you will be onstage when I direct The Full Monty as soon as it gets its amateur release!