Calendar Girls - shot in a Manchester bakery

By Jessica Elgot, October 27, 2011
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Tracy Capal, centre, with Genesis cake, and the rest of the Manchester Barely 50 calendar crew, baring (nearly) all for charity

Tracy Capal, centre, with Genesis cake, and the rest of the Manchester Barely 50 calendar crew, baring (nearly) all for charity

Twelve Manchester Jewish women will celebrate their 50th birthdays on a city-centre billboard, wearing nothing but a smile.

Inspired by the famous "Calendar Girls", the women have created a special calendar in aid of a breast cancer charity, posing naked with strategically placed props to keep their modesty intact.

The calendars will be advertised on billboards, provided free by Primesight, close to the Lowry Hotel in Manchester and on a main route into the city.

They hope to raise around £50,000 for local charity Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Appeal. Smaller amounts will go to Manchester Maccabi and Manchester Jewish Community Care.

The women, who held their photoshoot in the Whitefield, north Manchester bakery and patisserie, Slatterys, include a divorcée, a widow, and a pair of twins. The group have 28 children between them.

Organiser and Miss February, Tracy Capal, who turns 50 early next year, said she wanted to do something radical to celebrate a dreaded birthday, and do it for a good cause.

She said: "I know it's been done many times but this is putting our own slant on it. This must be the first Jewish calendar.

"I wanted to take my mind off the perils of turning 50. This makes me feel better about it. I don't know what 50 looks like any more, but we don't look it. We decided on the title 'Barely 50' because we don't feel 50. I wasn't nervous at all. I had no problem taking my clothes off. I didn't ask anyone's permission. Nobody was going to knock me back. But I've had no negative comments whatsoever from any section of the community, and the pictures are wonderful. Everyone looks 30."

The women are all close friends, most having attending King David Junior School together.

Miss March, mother-of-two Caroline Tyer, who turned 50 this week, said she felt flattered to be asked.

"I don't want to embarrass anyone. I think my daughter was a bit worried that she would find me on a calendar in her friend's house just wearing two apples and a banana. It's not like that at all."

Michele Lewis posed with her identical twin sister Andi McGarvey for the April page. "It's quite strange when there's two of you. As twins, you're always compared to each other and we've had very separate identities, but it's all for charity and that's great. That's what I keep reminding my four sons."

Miss November and mother-of-three Jan Warner will turn 50 next week. She said her children were cautiously supportive.

"My daughters are fantastic but my son, who plays football at Nottingham Uni, told me not to come to his football match because they would take the mick out of his mum's naked calendar.

"The calendar is dedicated to Erica Landey, who died this summer of breast cancer. She was an amazing, fun girl. She would have been doing this with us."

The project has already raised £27,000 from sponsorship, before the calendar's official launch on November 15. It will be sold on the Genesis website.

Last updated: 10:26am, October 27 2011