REGULARS at a Royton bar have bare-faced ambition to raise money and help a man who has battled a brain tumour.
Customers at The Secret Sip have peeled off their clothes and posed for a naked calendar.
Owner of the Middleton Road establishment, Chris Ashley, had the idea of doing something to raise cash for Neil’s Appeal, a fundraising group under the umbrella of the Brain Tumour Research charity.
It is named after his big pal Neil Taylor, who was diagnosed with the condition while expecting his first child with wife Alex.
And rather than being met with reserved attitudes, Chris was greeted with enthusiasm at the thought of posing in front of the camera with nothing on.
Now the first 100 copies of the calendar have been released – and more are expected to be printed.
“I was just talking to some of the regulars and the thought was, ‘How about we do a Calendar Girls-style calendar?’” said the 39-year-old.
“Everyone jumped on it, no-one hesitated at all and everyone seemed to embrace it.
“And some were definitely keener than others to appear in it.”
In all, 16 people – taken from the football, cycling and running teams that meet at The Secret Sip – took part in the shoot in November.
It was over to the Manchester Brewing Company’s premises in Manchester and there were no moans, problems or delays.
“The whole thing took about an hour-and-a-half,” Chris added.
“We went with lots of things we wanted to do but the photographer had to order some of us around to stand in the right position and make sure our ‘essentials’ were covered.
“We wanted to make sure everyone was comfortable and we had a few props to make sure nothing was on show.”
Chris, as well as Lee Clough, Liam Whitehead, David Royle, Mark Cartwright, Tom Ashcroft, Paul Mellor, Mark Curran, Ben Arthur, Geoff Abram, Adam Robertson, Lee Smethurst, Andy Eastwood, Tom Gledhill and Craig Simpson, feature on the calendar.
Anyone who wanted to see a few more of the shots could buy a hardback book featuring plenty of poses in an auction as the calendar was launched on Saturday.
“Everyone who is in the calendar saw it before it was released and they all loved it,” Chris continued.
“They think it’s brilliant and the book will also allow people to see a few more pictures that didn’t make the calendar.
“We ran off 100 copies of the calendar but with 16 people in it, if they and their families buy them we’ll have to get a few more copies printed!
“Fortunately, they only take a week or so to print so it’s not too much of a problem if we sell out.”
Every penny of the £10 fee for the calendar goes to Neil’s Appeal and the man himself has given it the go-ahead.
Chris also revealed the surprising fact about the bunch of mates that have done so much.
“Neil’s a friend of mine but none of the others had ever met him when they did it,” he admitted.
“That’s the amazing thing really – everyone just jumped on board with the idea.
“I put the calendar thing to him and he said, ‘Go for it.’ He was absolutely made up that we’re doing it.
“I’ve kept him involved all the way and made sure we’ve done everything through him first.
“We’ve not really set a target. We have a charity for the year at The Secret Sip and Neil’s Appeal is ours now.
“It’s been an amazing response and hopefully the calendar is a huge success.”
• Copies of the calendar can be obtained from The Secret Sip in Royton.