Sunderland family bares all to emulate the Calendar Girls

CALANDER GIRLS: top left, Hayley Gough, Joyce Freeman, Cheryl Smith, Rita Burke and Carole Armstrong and front Samantha Davison.
CALANDER GIRLS: top left, Hayley Gough, Joyce Freeman, Cheryl Smith, Rita Burke and Carole Armstrong and front Samantha Davison.
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MEET the family who dared to go bare to raise awareness of the cancer that claimed the life of a loved-one.

Daughters and grand-daughters of Doreen Lancaster, who died of lung cancer, are the winners of the Echo’s Calendar Girls competition.

CALANDER GIRLS: top left, Hayley Gough, Joyce Freeman, Cheryl Smith, Rita Burke and Carole Armstrong and front Samantha Davison.

CALANDER GIRLS: top left, Hayley Gough, Joyce Freeman, Cheryl Smith, Rita Burke and Carole Armstrong and front Samantha Davison.

They stripped off to pose for this photograph, just like the stars of the famous film and spin-off stage show, which is running at the Sunderland Empire.

“My mum always liked a laugh,” said Doreen’s daughter Rita Burke.

“She always liked to see us messing around and having a joke.

“I think she would have loved this.”

Doreen’s daughters Rita, 56, from Moorside, Joyce Freeman, 50, from Blackhall, and Carole Armstrong, 48, from Hendon, joined her granddaughters Cheryl Gough-Smith, 30, Hayley Gough, 28, and Samantha Davison, 27, all from Hendon, for the tribute to the 73-year-old, who died in 2008.

“We all just got together and decided it was a nice idea,” said shop worker Rita.

“Nobody really knew anything about it except us. I’ve no idea what my workmates will think about it.”

Calendar Girls is inspired by the true story of a group of extraordinary women, all members of an ordinary Women’s Institute, who persuade one another to pose for a charity calendar.

When the ladies stripped off in 1998, they had no idea they would spark a global phenomenon.

As well as books, a film and stage show based on their idea, they have managed to raise £3million for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

“We’ve always been big fans of the film and the stage show,” said mum-of-three Rita.

“I was lucky enough to meet Lynda Bellingham from the show, at a charity hospice lunch in Roker.”

Twitter: @sunderlandecho