St Andrews calendar girls (and boys) grin and bare it

Participants in Pike River Appeal calendar on the Swilcan Bridge.
Participants in Pike River Appeal calendar on the Swilcan Bridge.

A fundraising effort to help finance the mission to recover bodies of the men who died in last year’s mine disaster in New Zealand - one of the victims was Malcolm Campbell (25) from St Andrews - is set for a massive boost.

Taking their cue from the hit film, Calendar Girls, a group of St Andrews women - and men - have stripped off for a charity calendar in support of the campaign and orders are pouring in.

The tasteful images have been shot at locations around the town, including on the beach, in the sea, on horseback and even in a local pub.

The “bare-devil” group, who are friends of Malcolm’s parents - Malcolm senior and Jane - are backing the Pike River Recovery Fund in support of the families of the 29 men who died in the tragedy last November when an explosion ripped through the coal mine. All proceeds from the sale of the calendar will help finance the families’ efforts to recover the bodies of their loved ones.

One of those involved in the calendar project, Heather Ovenstone, told the Citizen:”Some of us either worked with Jane or knew Malcolm personally or just wanted to help.”

The initial group involved were Heather, Gillian Adams - whose idea it was - Jakie Barclay, Kathryn Stewart and Joyce McBride, and they posted an event on Facebook seeking help with the photography and models.

In total 12 women and five men, whose jobs range from a nurse practitioner, chemist assistant, restaurant owner and houswives to oil workers, labourers and a taxi driver, participated and were joined by Jane Campbell and her daughter, Kerry, for a couple of photocalls.

Stuart Reid and his assistant Aaron Banks, of Reid’s Photography, kindly offered their professional services free.

Jakie Barclay added: ”We based our pictures on the famous Calendar Girls, using props and flags to hide our modesty. It has been a fantastic experience.”

The group enjoyed an overwhelming response from people offering help with locations and props, including Jannetta’s ice cream shop, Historic Scotland, the Sue Ryder charity shop, Ziggy’s Restaurant, Louise Coyne who supplied horses, and the Harbour Cafe, providers of refreshments to keep everyone warm at the photoshoots.

Jakie said: ”The motivation behind it stems from the fact that most of us are parents and we cannot imagine the pain and anguish that Jane and Malcolm have to face every day. We felt that if we could help in any small way to lessen their heartache, this would be the least we could do.

“The calendar hopes to raise awareness of the families’ pain and as a tribute to each and every one of the 29 miners that they will never be forgotten.”

To help offset printing costs, the group is selling advertising space in the calendars and several local businesses have confirmed support. Any businesses wishing to advertise should email with their artwork included.

Heather added: ”Every single one of us thoroughly enjoyed the experience, gaining confidence within ourselves and some of us realising lifelong ambitions. We would like to thank everyone who either appeared or contributed to the making of the calendar.”

Calendars will be available from the New Inn, St Andrews, or by contacting members of the group.