Women to strip for their hospice

Whoever said that Wigan and Leigh Hospice is all doom and gloom?

That is certainly a phrase you will never hear the patients repeating, especially those in day care who have just given themselves more reason to giggle than ever before.

Step forward Imelda Sharpe, a day patient for the past 18 months who is currently recruiting her pals at the hospice to tastefully bare all for a fund-raising calendar.

Imelda was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney three years ago and was given just six weeks to live. She has been a patient at the hospice ever since.

The 59-year-old, of Whelley, felt inspired after watching the film Calendar Girls.

She said: "It's a wonderful film and I just thought I would ask if anyone had done such a thing at the hospice before.

"When I told everyone what I was thinking and asked if they would be involved, they just looked at me blankly at first as if I wasn't serious. But then it dawned on them that I wasn't messing about and they started laughing and said they would be happy to help. Everyone is willing to join in."

The ladies are now hoping to attract sponsorship for the calendar and would also like to invite the public to come forward with ideas for a theme.

Imelda, a mum of three, said: "All we know is that we want it doing very tastefully, we are not all young women! None of us have ever done anything like this before so it's quite nerve-racking. However, I've got it in my head that this is my way of saying thank you and giving something back to the hospice for everything it has given to me.

"It's such a wonderful place here and I have made some really close friends.

"When I was first diagnosed I felt like a freak but when I came here all that changed. So many people say they are scared of coming here but their perceptions are nothing like reality."

The calendar will be made in memory of fellow day patient, Debbie Braddock-Meadows, who died recently.