Tricia Stewart | Author | Speaker
Tricia Stewart is the woman responsible for creating the world famous Alternative WI Calendar, which she created in 2010. Portrayed in the movie by Dame Helen Mirren, the film, play and musical ‘Calendar Girls’ are all based on her incredible story. The calendars have raised over 3 million pounds for Leukaemia Research and the stage and musical have both had huge successes in London’s West End.
Actresses who have played her on stage include Anita Dobson, Lynda Bellingham, Elaine C Smith and Arabella Weir. They appeared on every US news channel and chat show including Jay Leno and Sally Jessie Raphael and the calendar sold 100s of 1000s of copies overseas.
The final 2013 Calendar was published in April 2012 and once again took the world by storm. The Calendar Girls Musical with music written by Gary Barlow has recently debuted on stage and is receiving fabulous reviews. Tricia’s amazing and hugely inspirational story is extremely amusing and peppered with anecdotes of the things that have happened to her and her fellow calendar girls along the way. She is a truly wondrous speaker.
ExpertiseMotivation & Inspiration
TalentsAuthor, Expert, Speaker
More about Tricia Stewart
Tricia Stewart was born in Sunderland on 11th February 1949. She trained as a diagnostic radiographer.
In 1983 she moved into a small village of Cracoe in the Yorkshire dales with her family. On arrival in Cracoe, a neighbour, Angela Baker invited her to join the WI, telling her that the locals would think she was funny if she didn’t join. So Tricia joined Rylstone & District WI in 1985 and became great friends with Angela. She was an active member, entering WI competitions (sometimes gaining high marks) and serving as Treasurer for 2 years.
In 1997 Tricia and Ian set up a company, TKI Medical, together selling medical educational software to Universities and hospitals. In February 1998 John Baker, Angela’s husband, was diagnosed with non Hodgkins Lymphoma. A couple of years previously Tricia had joked about an Alternative WI Calendar featuring the crafts of WI, but the girls would be nude.
The traditional WI calendar features pictures of hills, sheep and village greens and Tricia thought it would be really amusing to do an alternative version. It was a joke for all that time, until touched by the serious illness of a friend; they wanted to raise money for research into blood related cancers. John knew about the calendar and thought it was a very amusing idea, but said they would never do it. When John died in July 1998, Tricia determined to go ahead with the calendar in memory of John and to raise funds for Leukaemia research. Eleven women aged between 45 and 65 were involved in the calendar. There was no difficulties recruiting models because they were all friends of John and Angela’s.
The Alternative WI Calendar was launched in April 1999. Tricia’s name and number went out with the press releases and she was on three phones for weeks! For Tricia, the calendar was like running another business; using the skills she had learnt form running the office of TKI Medical. The media coverage was huge. The story was in the nationals every day for 3 weeks. They modelled at the Savoy in London fashion week, were voted Women of the Year, baked a spotted dick on Thames TV and took calendars to the palace for the Queen and the Queen Mother. Oldie magazine awarded them ‘The Oldie Exposure of the Year.’
In 1999, the calendar sold 88,000 copies in the U.K. The calendar proved inspirational and touched people’s hearts. It changed the image of the WI forever, the perception of the older woman and sold thousands of copies. People admired their courage. A year later the calendar was published in America, selling a further 240,000 copies, promoted by two tours of the US and in 2001 Tricia’s book ‘Calendar Girl’ was published by Pan Macmillan. The aim had been to raise 5,000 pounds for LRF and to have a calendar dedicated to John’s memory. The effect of the calendar was expected to last 3 weeks, but 15 years on it has raised 4 million pounds for LRF.
In September 2003, the blockbusting film ‘Calendar Girls’ based on the story of the Alternative WI Calendar, was premiered at the Odeon, Leicester Square. In the film, Tricia’s character is played by Helen Mirren. June 2003 saw the launch of a second calendar featuring the 6 actresses from the film and the six original ladies who are involved with the film. In 2004 her book ‘The Calendar Girl’ was published and has been reprinted many times and translated into different languages including Japanese.
The stage version of ‘Calendar Girls’ played at the Noel Coward Theatre in London’s West End to a full house every night. Actress Elaine C Smith has played Tricia Stewart, as well as the late Lynda Bellingham and Anita Dobson. There have also been over 900 performances of the amateur production of ‘Calendar Girls’ raising hundreds of thousands for LLR .
The 2010 Calendar was launched in May 2009 and, once again, took the world by storm. There was also a 2011 and 2012 calendar to sell alongside the theatre production because demand of rthe show both in the UK and overseas was so high the show was high.
Tricia Stewart is an incredibly inspirational, motivating and amusing speaker is constantly being booked by audiences keen to hear her story and she undertakes in excess of 100 speaking engagements each year.
“Thank you so much Tricia – It was a fantastic event & you were absolutly brilliant – Enjoyed by all!”
Ladies Luncheon Event, DangerPoint July 2011
‘I found it funny, moving and very poignant’
The Major of the City of Derby.
‘Everyone was totally engrossed, entertained and amused by your talk’
‘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.
‘Tricia received a standing ovation at our luncheon today -the first time I have ever known a speaker get that sort of applause.’
Events Assistant Manager
‘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’
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!’
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”
TV & Radio
The Alan Titchmarsh Show
‘Loose Women’ (ITV)
‘Breakfast With Frost’ (BBC)
TV & Radio
‘The Calender Girls Story’ (Dalesman 2004)
‘Calender Girl’ (Pan Books 2003)
Dame Helen is no WI Wannabe
Calendar Girls charity chocolate brand