Patients, volunteers and a nurse at East Lancashire Hospice have dared to bare all for a "Calendar Girls" style calendar that will not only raise money for the hospice, but has given many of the ladies taking part a big tick off their bucket list.
The idea was formed and has been driven by hospice day patient, Ann Dobson from Blackburn, which is the first of its kind for the hospice and photographs were taken by Blackburn Rovers photographer Rachel Holborn who gave her time freely after visiting the hospice when it was the chosen charity of the clubs last season.
Ann herself has sourced sponsorship from Pure Visions Solutions Ltd, Accrington, Blackburn Rovers, Paul Sloan from Universal Cooling Ltd, Oswaldtwistle, NEL Services, Colne, Acorn
Cleaners, Accrington, Canine Club, Accrington, Mr Warren Todd, Mrs Margaret Bentley and Lynn and Phillip Daniels in memory of John Daniels to cover the cost of printing so that every penny raised goes directly to patient care.
Ann commented: “When my brother bought tickets to see the musical Calendar Girls for my birthday, little did I know where it would lead. Watching the show we laughed, and we cried - it was fabulous! I was so excited as I knew then what I wanted to do to raise money for my hospice. I have been attending Thursday’s Creative and Support Therapy Group for the past six years, gaining support, kindness, compassion and friendship. So, with trepidation, I got the girls together to ask if they would be our very own Hospice Calendar Girls. The response was unbelievable - I couldn’t take down names fast enough! They were all buzzing, and as the word spread, so were the rest of the hospice patients. By Friday there were 20 patients, each one ready to bare all for a great cause - very tastefully I might add! Reality soon set in. ‘Could I do this? What are the girls going to do? Do I have enough props? We need sponsors. We need to sell it. What have I let myself in for?’ “The day of the photo shoot arrived. I received so many text messages throughout the day, and by evening everyone had the collie wobbles, including me."
She added: “We gathered at the hospice, dressing gowns at the ready. There was no going back now. Blackburn Rovers’ professional photographer arrived and her attention to detail was amazing. When it came to getting undressed of course there was hesitation, but the evening went like a dream, and you could have plucked the liberation, emotion and inspiration out of the air.
“At the end of the photo shoot I couldn’t get them to put their clothes back on. It’s winter; it was freezing outside. Did we care? Did we worry? No! We will all remember making this calendar for the rest of our lives, as will our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A euphoric legacy made by us for them.”
If you want to support these amazing ladies you can purchase a calendar via the hospice website at eastlancshospice.org.uk/products.
The calendars will cost £10 each and all proceeds from sales will go to support the hospice.