MAXINE GORDON reports on the North Yorkshire calendar girls stripping off for charity

ELEVEN women are baring nearly all in a charity calendar to raise money to fight female cancers.

The end result is Classic Bangers – a collection of risqué but fun images for each month of the year photographed at Mathewsons car auctioneers at Thornton Le Dale near Pickering.

The calendar was the idea of local nurse Helen Miller, whose sister-in-law Robyn tragically died from cancer the day before the photoshoot.

"Robyn was only 52 and diagnosed with a rare cancer of the womb in February," said Helen, an advanced nurse practitioner at Pickering Medical Practice.

It was following Robyn's illness and in reaction to other friends' cancer diagnoses that Helen decided to organise the calendar project.

She gathered some friends and colleagues together for the shoot one dark, cold evening in early October.

Taking the images were two professional male photographers, John Anderson and Chris Bryant, who had volunteered their services. John and Chris work on the popular UKTV Bangers and Cash show which is hosted by Mathewsons.

On the night, Prosecco and pizza were ordered as Helen and the ten others took it in turns to strip off and pose next to a range of classic cars. Blushes were spared by the women discreetly covering their private parts behind the likes of open doors, wheel arches, and car memorabilia.

"It was a cold night and we walked down to the garage in our dressing gowns," recalled Helen. "We posed for each shot with our dressing gowns on and when we were happy with the pose we'd go for it! The photographers were brilliant and didn't make us feel embarrassed. They were just trying to get a nice photo – the best photo they could."

For Helen, that meant bending stark naked over an open bonnet – her only props being a can of engine starter spray in her hand and a string of pearls around her neck. Her photo appears under May in the calendar.

The raw grief of losing her sister-in-law the day before took away any nerves, she said. "Robyn had just died and I thought, come on, let's do this. It's for a really, really good cause. We all know someone who has been affected by breast cancer or ovarian cancer."

Helen and the team hope to raise £5,000 from the sale of the calendar for Women V Cancer which brings together three very important women's cancer charities: Breast Cancer Care, Ovarian Cancer Action and Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust. These three charities are committed to supporting the thousands of people across the UK who are affected by women's cancers and fund research into developing effective treatments and cures for ovarian, breast and cervical cancers.

The charity calendar, which has been printed for cost price by Pickering's HPE Print, is just one fundraising vehicle for Helen.

In May, she will join fellow calendar girls Sarah Hyde (September) and Sam Walton (April) on a gruelling bike ride through Italy, again for Women V Cancer.

Helen knows it will be a challenge. "The only cycling I've done is to the local pub," she said.

But all that is changing. Her partner has bought her a road bike and she has begun training, completing 20 miles at a time. But she has some way to go before setting off for the adventure. "We have to cycle from Milan to Venice over three days covering 80 to 100 miles each day, both on and off road. It's a proper challenge."

Sam, 50, who lives in Strensall and runs Acomb Travel with her husband Eric, has already completed the Italian bike challenge in May this year, just months after having a hysterectomy, and is looking forward to the next one. Sarah is happy to be taking part too – she had to withdraw from this year's event to be treated for breast cancer.

Helen would like to raise £10,000 for Women V Cancer in total.

Sam said she was also planning to cycle from London to Amsterdam in 2021. All events are to raise funds for Women V Cancer.

Meanwhile the women are focussed on selling their festive calendars.

Sam's husband was away when she did the shoot and didn't realise she had taken part until he saw the end result. "He was looking through the calendar and when he came to April, he said 'Oh my God that's you!'."

Sam revealed it was great fun to take part. "I was nervous, but a bit excited. It was a bit nerve-racking and I was asking myself: 'why am I doing this?'. But it was all for a good cause. It was also a bit exciting to be doing something quite cheeky."

To buy a calendar, contact Mathewsons 01751 474455 or

If you would like to support Helen or Sam, here are their Just Giving page details: