By UTE SCHULENBERG
IT MAY still be a man's world in many country towns, but in Dorrigo their world is definitely run by women.
Barbara Dowling made this discovery when she went in search of sponsorship around the town's CBD last month.
"I discovered all these women who are having a go and keeping the heart of our town alive," Barbara said.
The 82-year-old grandmother is part of a calendar 'Living Proof', where 12 breast cancer survivors get their gear off in aid of cancer research.
When co-ordinator, Robyn Ashley, contacted Barbara and asked her to be part of the calendar, she thought it was a 'brilliant' idea and said yes 'instantly'.
The greater challenge was to find the sponsorship, but then she had a 'rush of blood to her head'.
"I had been walking around town with my art group and it hit me ? all these shops had businesswomen," Barbara said.
"They might just sponsor me."
And sponsor Barbara they did, with 'warmth, generosity and spontaneity'.
Pam Ellem, of Pam's Fruit and Veg, said when Barbara and Robyn showed her the first picture, she thought they were asking her to be in it.
"When I found out all they wanted was a donation, it was a relief," Pam said.
"I think it's a good idea."
The manager of Dorrigo's National Australia Bank, Lynelle Waugh, also thought it was a good idea.
"We get funds each year for donations ? I've slightly overspent on this one, but it's definitely worth it," Lynelle said.
Lyndy Johnston of The Art Place Gallery said donating to the calendar was a lovely way to be able to help.
"Often it's just a straight donation ? this goes towards something," Lyndy said.
So where are the blokes on the Plateau?
"Probably out running the farms," Charmaine Healey of 'chats' said.
Many of the women said they hadn't actually thought about the fact that they were all sisters doing it together in the CBD.
Perhaps Barbara's brave pose for the camera will yield other new connections in Dor- rigo.
n The Living Proof Calendar features 12 local women who have 'bared all' to help raise money for breast cancer research.
All 12 are breast cancer survivors with a simple message ? they are 'living proof' that there is life after breast cancer.
The calendar goes on sale on Pink Ribbon Day, Octo- ber 25.