Gary Barlow made 'honorary Yorkshireman'
Published 09/11/2015 | 22:31
Take That star Gary Barlow has been made an "honorary Yorkshireman" just days before the premiere of his new musical inspired by the Women's Institute's Calendar Girls.
The Girls, written by Barlow and Tim Firth, is based on the true story of a group of WI members from North Yorkshire who famously posed semi-nude in a charity calendar.
Barlow and Firth both received the Honorary Yorkshireman title at a Yorkshire tourism awards ceremony in Leeds ahead of the opening of the play in the city on Saturday.
Speaking at the White Rose Awards this evening, Barlow, who is from Cheshire, said: "This is amazing. I've got many awards but, believe me, this is going right in the middle of them.
"The reaction here tonight shows why we're here. I've always played to great audiences here in Yorkshire and I'm hoping for that for the show."
Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, presented the awards in front of an audience that included some of the original Calendar Girls.
He said: "I am very proud to welcome Gary Barlow and Tim Firth as honorary Yorkshiremen.
"Gary and Tim have done a great job of telling an extraordinary tale about a group of ordinary Yorkshire women and I am sure The Girls will be a major success."
The Girls is based on the story of the Rylstone and District WI, who created the calendar in 1999 after John Baker, husband of Angela Knowles, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and later died from the illness.
The calendar inspired a host of imitators, raised millions of pounds for charity and was immortalised in the hit movie Calendar Girls, starring Helen Mirren.
The Girls will premiere at Leeds Grand Theatre on November 14.