Bury St Edmunds: Naked calendar aims to show off region’s best assets

Ladies from the Bury St Edmunds Operatic and Dramatic Society who are staging Calendar Girls at the

Ladies from the Bury St Edmunds Operatic and Dramatic Society who are staging Calendar Girls at the Theatre Royal and producing their own calendar to commemorate the occasion. Joyce Amtower, Heather Couch and Judith Thomas enjoy tea on the Angel Hill - Credit: Suzy Abbott

It’s not the kind of behaviour you would expect from a well-to-do operatic society.

But these plucky ladies decided there was only one way to show off Bury St Edmund’s best assets while raising money for charity at the same time.

Now as their naked calendar, snapped at some of Bury’s most famous landmarks, goes to print, members of the daring troupe have said they hope their exploits will see tourists flocking to the region.

Debbie Croll, chairman of Bury St Edmunds Operatic Society (BSEAODS), which is set to perform Calendar Girls in August, said they wanted to create their own version of the famous alternative WI calendar.

She added: “We took the view that when you think about calendars, you normally think about tourist calendars. We thought wouldn’t it be great if we could take our pictures at local venues that sort of big up the region as well as serve the purpose of a Calendar Girls calendar.”

Mrs Croll said it wasn’t too hard to get the ladies, whose ages span 50 years, to take part. “We’re all luvvies aren’t we? So we’re good up at getting on stage if you’ve got a persona. We said ‘You’re going to have to get used to taking your clothes off on stage, so you might as well get used to it now’. But they were also doing it for St Nicholas Hospice Care and the fun really.”

Although some photographs, including those in Abbey Garden, were taken at 5am, there were plenty of onlookers for the shots taken in Bury’s busy market. Mrs Croll said: “The members of the public were fantastic they all seemed to enjoy it. I think it all helped us bond as a team. It was fantastic; we were encouraging each other to do things. ‘Go on, grab those melons’.”

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The 53-year-old, the third oldest participant, said they would approach the tourist board with the finished calendar.

She added: “I think we are an asset for tourism. We are bigging up Bury St Edmunds. It’s a beautiful town and we are showing it in a nice way. The photographs are superb quality; it just shows all the colour and vibrancy you’ve got in the region. It’s a chance to say ‘Look at us, look at the society but also look at Bury it’s well worth a visit’.

The calendar, priced at £7.50 will go on sale at Waitrose in Bury from August, and orders can be taken on our Society website www.burystedmundsoperatic.co.uk.

BSEAODS are performing Calendar Girls at the Theatre Royal from August 20 to 24.