Calendar Girls Of Rylstone

<B>Morley Safer</B> Reports On 11 Women Who Bared All For Charity

In 2000, Correspondent Morley Safer reported on what happened when 11 women between 46 and 66 decided to take off all their clothes, except for their pearls, and pose for some more-than-suggestive photographs.

These calendar girls were pillars of society, members of the ancient and honorable Women's Institute of Britain.

Angela Baker, one of the stalwarts of the Rylstone chapter of the institute, or the W.I., was "Miss February." She and other members of the Rylstone chapter, chose to bare themselves to raise money for cancer research after Baker's husband, John, died.

Did they ever expect, in their wildest dreams, to take their clothes off for money?

"Well, charity," says Tricia Stewart. "Sounds better when you say charity."

Once the decision to strip was made, who would shoot the pictures? In a village of 120, one's body parts may be the last secret left. But in the end, they decided that Terry Logan, an artist and husband of Miss July, would be sufficiently discreet.

"I was really surprised that they had the courage to do it," says Logan. "They talked about it, but when it comes down to, 'Hey, lads, hey, let's get on with it, let's drop the dressing gowns, we've got to do it,' I was really surprised how quickly they adapted to it. I think every woman likes to be a secret stripper, so the saying goes."

"Miss May," Moyra Livesey, 52, said: "Of course, you weren't totally naked when you have your pearls on. One is never undressed when one is wearing pants."

"We're not beautiful. We try to show ourselves off as best we can," adds Lynda Logan, 57, "Miss July." "But we've got floppy bits and what you get, you know, when you get to our age."

"I think it's a good thing that people realize that perhaps to have a young, beautiful body is wonderful," says Rita Turner, "Miss August." "We all had it once upon a time, but it changes. And there are lots of middle-aged and older men in society, too."

They had a song written about them, too, by Richard Stilgoe and Peter Skellern, which they sang for Safer.

A lot has happened to those women since Safer's broadcast first aired four years ago. There has been a "Calendar Girl" book, and a feature film.

And, if imitation is the highest form of flattery, the women of Rylstone have plenty to be flattered by, as there have been dozens of imitators, many right here in the United States -- like Rotarians from Batavia, N.Y., raising eyebrows and money for a local hospital.

Ladies from Granby, Colo., dropped their dresses for downtown development. And the First Men's Garden Club of Dallas also went au naturale.

As for the women of Rylstone, they've done two more calendars, and to date, they have raised nearly $2 million, all going to cancer research.