Craven’s Calendar Girls were given the red-carpet treatment at a gala performance of the stage show which tells their story.

The show, called Calendar Girls, opened at the Noel Coward Theatre in London’s West End this month. Last week, a gala performance was held, attended by celebrities and the press.

The Calendar Girls, all members of Rylstone Women’s Institute, shot to fame 10 years ago when they posed for a nude calendar to raise money for Leukaemia Research. Since then they have raised more than £2 million, with money still coming in from the stage show.

Angela Baker, who was Miss February in the original calendar, said: “It was a fantastic night. It was like being in Hello – you couldn’t move for celebrities. And at the end of the show we got a standing ovation. There were also loads of people outside wanting pictures and autographs.”

The original calendar was inspired by Angela’s husband, John, a national park officer who died from non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 1998, aged just 54.

Angela said: “The stage show is very different from the film. You don’t get the Dales scenery for a start, but you seem to be more involved in the story. It seems very real.

“For me, it is very mixed emotions, but Tim Firth (who wrote the show) is very clever. The sad bits are immediately followed by something funny.”

The gala performance was also attended by four trustees from Barnoldswick and Earby Bosom Friends. They were able to go thanks to local woman Maureen Clapperton, who won a competition in TV Choice.

Her prize was a trip to London for herself and three friends, with tickets to the gala performance of Calendar Girls, an overnight stay at the Marriot Hotel in Regent’s Park and £100 towards travel expenses.

“I am just recovering from breast cancer and decided that the trip would be too much for me, so I asked the organisers if I could pass the prize to someone else. They said I could, so I gave it to Bosom Friends because of the good work they do,” said Maureen.

Meanwhile the original Calendar Girls have stripped off for a new 2010 calendar, which will be launched next month.