Fifty breast cancer survivors strip off for display at Norfolk & Norwich hospital

Models of the exhibition gather with Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, who has helped the exhibition hav

Models of the exhibition gather with Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, who has helped the exhibition have a place in the Houses of Parliament. - Credit: Archant

Fifty brave women have stripped off in front of the camera to show how having breast surgery does not impact their femininity.

Their pictures will be displayed as an exhibition starting at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital before moving on to other locations including the Houses of Parliament.

Margaret Howe, 55, of Breckles, one of the models, said: 'It's really important to spread the message that femininity comes from within the body – and you don't lose that if you have breasts removed for health reasons.'

The exhibition has been a two-year project for professional Taverham photographer Julia Holland, who has carried out the work in partnership with cancer charity Keeping Abreast.

She created a similar exhibition earlier which inspired many of the new models to come forward, prompting a second and larger display of classical-style portraits with women showing their breasts after surgery.

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All the women, most of whom hail from Norfolk, have had breast cancer or preventative mastectomies.

Julia said: 'Some were absolutely terrified of being photographed, but they were still brave enough to come and do it because they wanted to make a difference.

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'The exhibition will do wonders to raise the profile of the charity.

'It has an amazing impact.'

The ages of the women pictured range from 30 to 70.

The exhibition will be featured at other hospitals around the country, and also briefly at the heart of British government as it will be displayed in the upper waiting hall in the Houses of Parliament – thanks to Norwich North MP Chloe Smith.

'To have the exhibition there is brilliant and an accolade,' Julia said.

'Keeping Abreast is an inspiring charity to work with.'

Several celebrities have publicly announced they have undergone mastectomies to raise awareness of breast cancer and its consequences for women including actress Angelina Jolie and talkshow host Sharon Osborne.

The free exhibition runs at the N&N next week from Monday to Thursday, with an official launch on Monday at 6.30pm.

On Wednesday there will be a talk by Julia and two of the models in the hospital's Benjamin Gooch Lecture Theatre (6.30pm).

For more information on Keeping Abreast visit

Have you been diagnosed with breast cancer and want to share your story with us? Contact our health correspondent by emailing

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