Hospice patients dare to bare for Calendar-Girls style fundraiser

Categories: Care, Featured, and People & Places.

Patients, volunteers and a nurse at East Lancashire Hospice dared to get undressed 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. Day patient Ann Dobson tells us how she got the idea and what it was like to bare all for the charity.

The idea was driven by hospice day patient Ann Dobson. The calendar is the first of its kind for the hospice and the 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 club’s last season.

Ann herself sourced sponsorship from a number of local businesses and individuals to cover the cost of printing so that every penny raised goes directly to patient care. She said:

“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 twenty 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 collywobbles, including me.

“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.”

Hospice patient Amanda Hartley, said: “Even my husband doesn’t see me without my clothes on!” Another patient said: “I’ve had cancer and doing the calendar is my way of kicking it up the bum.”

For more information visit East Lancashire Hospice