The Calendar Girls hold a very special place in my heart. Their story with Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research began more or less at the same time as mine, their first calendar was in 1999 and that's when I joined the charity as a volunteer.
We were both inspired to be reckless by the courage of special people. For the Girls, their dear husband and friend John Baker, who tragically died from lymphoma, for me my 8-year old cousin Rob who died from leukaemia. Although it must be said that it's rather less reckless giving up a career as a fashion buyer than appearing naked worldwide - for clarity, I was the buyer!!
The power of human love is an incredible thing, it's at the heart of our charity and very much its driving force and for many of us it's exactly why we can't stop until we've beaten blood cancer. For the Girls it means that 13 years later they have raised nearly £3 million and they are truly loved by the people of Great Britain. That's why we've chosen this year to give the Great British public a chance to say thank you to the Calendar Girls at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday October 7 2012.
There is no one better than Hugh Wooldridge to capture in words and music the range of emotions evoked by the Calendar Girls' story, and we're delighted that the writer of the Calendar Girls play and film, Tim Firth, has also agreed to help with the show. The Girls have inspired every person they've ever met, from Michael Palin to Julie Waters, so there will be many surprise guests saying thank you, led by our favourite Yorkshire gardener Alan Titchmarsh.
I'm already getting goose bumps just thinking about it, and for the first time in many weeks I can honestly say it's nothing to do with the weather!
I hope you'll join me for this wonderful celebration. Book Tickets