“Brave” and “totally naked” staff of a rural pub in a Northamptonshire village produced a “festive” calendar promoting body confidence for an “amazing” charity.
A mother of a 19-month-old boy, one of the pub’s managers, together with her colleagues, showed her support for a family foundation's effort to save people’s lives, the Our Jay Foundation.
Our Jay Foundation is working to prevent the tragic loss they have endured following the death of their teenage son from sudden arrhythmic death syndrome by funding the purchase and installation of publicly accessible defibrillators across the country through fund-raising efforts.
The staff from The Royal Oak, a traditional pub located in the heart of Crick that has been around for more than a century, “very bravely” participated in creating a calendar inspired by the British comedy film Calendar Girls to raise funds for the foundation.
A new around-the-clock publicly accessible defibrillator was installed outside the pub located in Church Street, by the Our Jay Foundation.
Kerry Prosser, 34, The Royal Oak manager, decided to get involved with her team after speaking to Naomi Ress Issitt, 44, Our Jay Foundation founder and head of trustees and Jamie’s mother, at The Royal Oak's event featuring the Courthouse band on September 2.
Kerry said: “It's an amazing charity. They do really amazing work. Naomi is such a strong and lovely woman. They deserve as much support as they can get, really.”
“I got to talk to her, and her story really resonated with me. It really hit home to me what happened to her. Just saving anyone's life or being part of saving someone's life is an honour, and I’m really proud to be able to help them out,” said Kerry.
On September 26, the Our Jay Foundation unveiled a new around-the-clock publicly accessible defibrillator at The Royal Oak. Soon after, the pub’s staff “very bravely” participated in creating a calendar inspired by the British comedy film Calendar Girls to raise funds for the charity to be able to provide more accessible defibrillators to others.
Naomi said: “Jamie would be really chuffed that he’s part of this. I know Kerry said to me at the time that she wasn’t sure if it would be the right thing to do for a charity calendar, but my Jamie had such a sense of humour, and he would just absolutely love that he was part of it.
“We absolutely love the calendar. We are just really grateful to them for raising money for Our Jay, and we were so glad that we could get a defibrillator at their pub so quickly.”
The photoshoot took place at The Royal Oak on Thursday, November 2.
“Everyone who has taken part has been so brave. It was for a good cause. It promotes body confidence for our staff. It was daring,” said Kerry.
The calendar photos were shot in a single day. Kerry offered a private room and a dressing room at the event with a tight schedule. The pub's brewery sent over a box of prosecco, and Kerry provided brunch for everyone.
“The lady who took the photographs was amazing. She made everyone feel so comfortable. It was quite private and intimate between the photographer and us.
“We had to have a couple of glasses of Prosecco to take the edge off in order to all stand there in the pub totally naked in front of each other, but it was quite liberating, and we all came out of our shells at the end,” said Kerry.
Around 400 calendars are available on sale for £10 in a few local shops and public places, including The Royal Oak, Crick Post Office, The Stag and Pheasant in Hillmorton, The Clifton Inn in Rugby, The Red Lion in Kilsby, Elissym beauty salon in Long Buckby, and at Our Jay Foundation events.
The Royal Oak is offering the charity a £2,500 donation, and all proceeds from the calendar sale are set to be donated to the foundation.
In less than a week since being on sale on November 25, the team sold 100 copies.
Naomi said: “People have to see it. These guys put so much hard work into it. We absolutely love it, and we just love the fact that it's in such a festive spirit and the guys put so much thought into it. We were really happy for Jamie to be a part of it.”