A group of brave Tesco ladies have created a cheeky calendar to raise awareness of breast cancer.
The nine colleagues from Tesco Strand Road posed topless for the shoot, which was backed by Cancer Research UK.
Each chose their month and, with the help of photographer Clare McCahill, were photographed in-store for the calendar.
Irene Hewitt of Tesco Strand Road said: “All the colleagues involved have been directly affected by cancer or know someone who has had this horrible disease, so we all felt very passionate about making the calendar to support Cancer Research UK.
“The message is to get people to check their bodies for any changes as early detection can be vitally important.”
Irene’s mum and sister had cancer at the same time and she said that the disease ‘has had a massive impact’ on her family.
“When the idea of Calendar Girls came up, I thought, why not. We found it quite easy to get our models and Clare McCahill was the obvious choice of photographer.
“We hope you like our calendar. It is all about strong down–to-earth women of all shapes and all sizes, who have a message to get out there. And if just one person checks for changes in their body early, then it has been worth it.”
Among those who feature in the calendar is staff member Louise, who celebrated five years of being cancer free in April. She had been diagnosed with stage 2, grade 2 breast cancer in 2013.
A number of colleagues took part in the calendar shoot in support of Louise.
“When Irene suggested doing this calendar, there was no hesitation from me. This calendar is for everyone who has travelled the cancer journey and it shows what a small group of people can do to get the message out there that we should all be checking ourselves regularly. I am proud to have been the inspiration for the calendar,” she added.
Fionnuala, who is the calendar girl for March, said she hopes it will encourage people to ‘take the time to check their bodies’.
“When Irene mentioned that we should do a calendar for Cancer Research UK, I straight away said yes, as both my parents had passed away due to this illness.
“I also wanted to do it as my best friend fought cancer and, five years on, she is doing great. I hope by doing this calendar that we all just take the time and check our bodies. Early detection can definitely be key.”
Tracy, who features in the month of June, said she is pleased with the outcome of the photo shoot and hopes other people like it too.
“We are a close-knit group, but also strong women who want to get the message out there and show that together we can do things we never would have dreamed of.”
Tesco colleagues across the UK take part in ‘Race for Life’ events every year and host other individual events throughout the year.
Now with the calendar, the Strand Road staff, and a couple of former colleagues, are posing in shots they could never have imagined doing.
The youngest member of the calendar girls shoot, Emer, said she loved the opportunity to take part.
“As the youngest of the group of ladies, I represent all young people to show that cancer knows no age group. Doing the calendar is something I have loved doing.
“Cancer touches us all and we can all do a bit in helping to find cures.
“I am so pleased with final result of the calendar and know it’s something I will look back on with pride.
“With more research by Cancer Research UK, we can hope for the future and live for today.”
November’s calendar girl, Oonagh, said: “This is something I am so proud to have been part of. I am so glad we, as a group of women, are not scared of challenges.”
Danielle Sheridan, local fundraising manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “I am proud to receive the continued support of Tesco for Cancer Research UK.
“I want to thank all the members of staff who took part and to Irene for organising everything.
“A lot of hard work went into this calendar and I am delighted it turned out so well for the team. A lot of the ladies in this calendar have been personally affected by cancer and we are proud that they are here today to tell their stories.”
The calendars are available at Tesco Strand Road, priced £5.