Thatcham woman and calendar girls raise money for Newbury cancer care
Thatcham's very own 'calendar girls' are raising money for Newbury Cancer Care with their first nude calendar.
The volunteers and models involved have all been touched by cancer in some way and are looking to give back to those who helped them and their families.
Organiser Karen de Monte said: “The reason I wanted to raise money for Newbury Cancer Care was because I lost my dad Tony to cancer and Newbury Cancer Care was so amazing.
“He spent seven of his last days in the Rainbow Rooms [at West Berkshire Community Hospital].
She went on to say: “I said I wanted to do something to say thank you a bit further along we did the mile of pennies.
“We raised over £900 and I told them I would like to do more.”
Mrs de Monte then had her own diagnoses of breast cancer and received more support from Newbury Cancer Care.
She said: “They have supported my own family so much with different things with the volunteer drivers who take you to your appointments.
“I thought I want to take this a bit further and raise a bit more.”
Mrs de Monte said: “I came up with the idea of the ‘calendar girls’ calendar. I thought it would be fun if I made it a community thing.
“Within the first week, I had over 50 women volunteer to model.”
She also had photographers and printing companies offering up their help.
Graphic designer Sarah Carrek also offered up her skills when she heard what was happening.
Her family have been affected by cancer and she felt like she had to get involved.
She said: "My grandfather had cancer when I was seven, so did my dad, then my mother in April and I was in July.
“I am now three years clear.”
She added: “We had an initial meeting, there was about 10 of us at one of the ladies' houses and I put myself forward.
“It is amazing because we sat down, we told each other our names and a bit about our journey with cancer, and some of the stories were incredible; I felt quite humbled.
“The support is really nice, I feel like I have made friends for life.”
Mrs de Monte said that the women involved have all been touched by cancer in some way, whether it be their own journey with it or through losing a loved one.
She said: “It has become more than a calendar, it has become a support group for the ladies now.
“They have really, really loved every moment of it.
“They have had such a rough few years, it has not been easy.”
The photographers involved also felt that helping with the calendar was “the right thing to do”.
Volunteer photographer and husband of one of the models Andre Helman said: “My wife is one of the models. She put me forward, but this is not my day job.
“It was nerve wracking at first not having done anything like this, but as the shoots went on it got very friendly.
“I have lost people to cancer. I felt it was the right thing to do and I learnt a few new skills.”
Photographer Fiona Cue offered her time for those models who felt more comfortable being photographed by a woman.
She said: “It was really lovely.
“Both my parents have cancer it is something that’s very close to my heart.
“I am always very happy to do it."
To order a calendar, visit https://calendargirlscalendar.designwrite.co.uk/