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Stripping off is a thank-you from Arline

The Spalding Guardian came in handy for preserving modesty when Calendar Girls actresses posed for our phtographer. They are (back) from left  Alison Honeybun, Amy Perkins, Arline Evenden, May Daniels; front  Jules Jones and Fiona Parish. Photo (MIKE DAVISON): SG011012-468MD

The Spalding Guardian came in handy for preserving modesty when Calendar Girls actresses posed for our phtographer. They are (back) from left  Alison Honeybun, Amy Perkins, Arline Evenden, May Daniels; front  Jules Jones and Fiona Parish. Photo (MIKE DAVISON): SG011012-468MD

 

For one of the women in St Nicolas Players’ production of Calendar Girls the seven-minute long ‘nude’ scene will be a moment of celebration and a thank-you to some very special people.

For one of the women in St Nicolas Players’ production of Calendar Girls the seven-minute long ‘nude’ scene will be a moment of celebration and a thank-you to some very special people.

It is five years since Arline Evenden, of Penway Drive in Pinchbeck, was first diagnosed with breast cancer – and she has recently been signed off by her oncologist.

“I have been very, very lucky,” says the wife of Richard, mother of two grown up daughters, Lucy and Katy, and grandmother to five plus a baby expected any day at the time of the interview.

“I feel like I am signing off and by doing this I am part of the process of helping to raise some money for Macmillan Cancer Support, because we will have a collection. The nurses were brilliant. You could pick up the phone and talk to them about any problem at all.

“This is my thank you because they did so much for me and they do so much for other people and it can’t be an easy job.”

As the breast surgeon told Arline soon after she went to see him: “It is a word, not a death sentence. It doesn’t have to be.

“Sometimes it is, but you don’t look at it like that.”

However, Arline would add to that her encouragement to other women to make sure they take up their routine mammograms because she had had no symptoms and felt no bumps before a scan picked up the first indications of the deep seated lump, later confirmed by a more intensive mammotome, involving tissue sampling.

The lump was removed, along with some nymph lodes, at the breast unit at Lincoln, followed by three weeks of radiotherapy, and Arline should finish her tamoxifen drug treatment in January.

Arline, an optimist by nature, adds that she never thought things wouldn’t work out all right, although she says a year after her diagnosis her sister was also diagnosed with the disease and is still on chemo drugs.

Amateur dramatics is something Arline has been involved in for years, ten years with SADOS before joining St Nicolas Players where she is vice-chairman.

“It was just luck. The first time I walked out on stage I felt I had come home,” says Arline, a farm secretary at Holbeach Hurn.

Since then, Arline admits she’s done some strange things on stage, but never taking her clothes off, although she has appeared skimpily dressed in cabaret.

After Calendar Girls was released to the public – for one year only as part of an attempt at the record for the most amateur performances of a play in a year – Arline and the other performers went to see the professional show in Norwich.

She says: “It just struck us as so funny. It’s moving but funny, and the whole audience was in stitches and I hope that happens here.”

Any awkwardness among the women was dispelled the first time they got together for a publicity photo shoot when they agreed stripping off was something they wouldn’t worry about among themselves.

The other women also know about Arline’s treatment and have seen the scars.

On stage, the girls will use anything from a tea pot to marmalade making equipment to cover themselves, and the stage crew will make sure no one sees more than they bargained for if they happen to find themselves in the wrong place backstage.

• Calendar Girls is showing from Wednesday until Saturday at South Holland Centre and tickets are £9.50 adults, £8.50 concessions, available from the box office or by telephoning 01775 764777.

 

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