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Tricia Stewart

Tricia Stewart is originator and driving force behind one the world's most famous fundraisers ever. She created the Alternative WI Calendar, and was subsequently portrayed by Dame Helen Mirren in the film Calendar Girls. In addition to the movie there has been a hugely successful stage production and a musical, which is currently on tour in the UK.

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About Tricia Stewart

Tricia is an incredibly inspirational and motivational speaker, with an entertaining and amusing style of telling her story.

She is constantly booked by audiences keen to hear her story and undertakes in excess of 100 speaking engagements each year to clients as diverse as South Wales Police, Institute of Health Management, Derby & District Law Society, Hoffman-La Roche (Switzerland), Hospice UK, Rotary International, Practice Nurse Association, Chambers of Commerce and Business link.  She also lectures on P & O cruises.  These are in addition to numerous Ladies Luncheon Clubs and WI Federations.

Ms October.

The Alternative WI calendar was launched in April 1999.  Tricia had the idea at a Rylstone & District WI meeting a few years previously.  The WI publish a traditional calendar every year, usually featuring photographs of hills, sheep or letterboxes.  At that meeting Tricia voiced how funny it would be to do an alternative calendar, featuring the crafts of WI, but in the nude.   It was a joke, however, after the death of John Baker she was determined to produce an Alternative WI Calendar in John’s memory and to raise funds for research into blood related cancers.

Eleven women were recruited and the calendar was born.  Planning to raise sponsorship to print a thousand copies.  A famous local artist and the husband of Ms July, Terry Logan became the photographer and he organised the printer.  However, the printer would only print a 3,000 run and the girls were worried about who would buy 3,000 copies of a calendar of them with no clothes but decided to go ahead anyway.

Tricia’s name & number went out with the press releases.  The ensuing media furore found her on 3 phones for months. The calendar was featured in the national newspapers every day for 3 weeks.  The night after the launch, Tricia did an interview with Radio Chicago – the next day it was Radio Canada, South Africa and New Zealand.  The global interest had started.

That first year the girls modelled at the Savoy, were voted Women of the Year, awarded Oldie exposure of the year, delivered calendars to Buckingham palace for the Queen & Queen Mother, had numerous TV appearances and sold 88,000 calendars by December 1999.

In 2000 the calendar went to America after featuring on the 20-20 and 60 minutes show, selling a further 340,000 copies.

Tricia went on a US promotional tour that year and the comment in the Texas Star was “ the sun would never have set on the British Empire if they’d had the gumption of these women”.

Tricia’s first book was published in October 2001 by Pan Macmillan.  She released a paperback to coincide with the movie and has a new book out now with the whole 25 years covered.

The blockbusting movie ‘Calendar Girls’ based on the story of the Alternative WI calendar was released in 2003 with the girls travelling worldwide to promote it.  Tricia is portrayed by Helen Mirren. She does say Helen cut her teeth on her and went on to play the Queen!

In 2008 the play Calendar Girls, opened in Chichester and ran for 3 years, raising a one million pounds for their charity – Blood Cancer UK.  The actresses playing Tricia include Lynda Bellingham, Elaine C Smith and Anita Dobson.  The play has been performed all over the world, including hundreds of amateur productions- all raising a percentage for the charity.

Subsequent calendars produced were:-

2004 – to coincide with the movie

2007 – just because they could

2010 – 10 years on version to sell in the theatres, which was reproduced for 2011;2012;2013.  No more calendars – definitely no plans at the moment.

Calendar Girls the musical, written by Tim Firth and Gary Barlow, opened in Leeds to packed audiences, onto the Lowry and then the Pheonix theatre in London.  Discussions were underway with New York theatres when covid hit.  There is still hope though as the musical is touring the UK again throughout 2024 and negotiations continue.

Tricia has been told that the positive effects of the calendar are:-

  • The perception of the older woman has altered (positively)
  • Changed the image of the WI
  • Copycat calendars have raised millions for various charities.
  • Over 6 million pounds for research into blood related cancers has been raised.   Blood Cancer UK have made enormous progress in the treatment and curing of such cancers and the Alternative WI calendar has played a big part in that.

Tricia joined the Speakers Agency over 20 years ago as a motivational, inspirational, and amusing speaker, gaining confidence and encouragement from her mentors who run the agency.

What’s next?

Tricia is working towards a women empowered qualification – hopefully gaining her pink belt in Brazilian Jiujitsu and going on to teach woman & girls the tools to defend themselves, to give them the confidence and the knowledge to protect themselves and the ability to get away safely.

 

Booking Information

Testimonials

"Tricia received a standing ovation at our luncheon today -the first time I have ever known a speaker get that sort of applause."

Glenda Caley, Events Assistant Manager

"Thank you so much Tricia - It was a fantastic event & you were absolutly brilliant - Enjoyed by all!"

Ladies Luncheon Event, DangerPoint

"I found it funny, moving and very poignant"

The Major of the City of Derby.

"You made us laugh, you made us proud to be women, you made us cry from the sadness from which this story was derived"

National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies.

"I just wanted to let you know that Trisha's after dinner speech at out annual conference was excellent. It was actually the highlight of the conference. This is the second time I've heard Trisha speak and I could listen again and again. It was just so inspirational and a wonderful story. Everyone has been talking about it since. It will be a hard act to follow next year"

Gail Gourlay Head of Housing Services, Trust Housing Association

"our story and the journey of the W.I Ladies was told with great humour and style and we have had so many positive comments that they are too many to count!"

Nick Kohn Head of Major Fundraising, Queen Elizabeth's Foundation

"You are an inspiration. You have a wonderful gift of making everyone feel such at ease in your company"

Deanne Johnson Gifts Hospice

"Tricia was an excellent speaker and immediately connected with our audience with an incredibly moving and funny address. She received several rounds of applause throughout her speech and a standing ovation at the end. Several people in the audience also came up to Tricia to personally thank her for her speech afterwards, I would highly recommend Tricia for any after-dinner speech, regardless of the audience make-up."

Senior Conference Producer - The Network Group

"our story and the journey of the W.I Ladies was told with great humour and style and we have had so many positive comments that they are too many to count!"

Nick Kohn Head of Major Fundraising, Queen Elizabeth's Foundation

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Tricia Stewart News

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