A cheeky view of the boys posing for one of the shots
A Royton craft beer house is launching a naked charity calendar in support of a Middleton man diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Punters at The Secret Sip have stripped off for a 2019 calendar in aid of Neil’s Appeal, a fundraising group under the umbrella of the Brain Tumour Research charity. Organised by Chris Ashley, owner of The Secret Sip, the group of men are baring all in support of Neil Taylor, a 33-year-old brain tumour patient.
Neil, who is a family friend of Chris’, was diagnosed with a grade 3 astrocytoma in early 2017 when he was expecting his first child with wife Alex. He underwent surgery and treatment, after which the couple set out to raise funds towards research into the disease, setting up Neil’s Appeal.
Chris, 39, said: “I was looking for ways to support Neil’s Appeal when one of the regulars at The Secret Sip suggested we do a charity calendar — not just a normal calendar but a Calendar-Girls-style calendar.
“I put the idea out there to some of the men on our sports teams and they were all on board. It’s fantastic that they wanted to help, even though they don’t know Neil. It’s a fun way to raise money and awareness, and I hope the funds raised will make a difference.”
Posing in the calendar are cheeky chappies Lee Clough, Liam Whitehead, David Royle, Chris Ashley, Mark Cartwright, Tom Ashcroft, Paul Mellor, Mark Curran, Ben Arthur, Geoff Abram, Adam Robertson, Lee Smethurst, Andy Eastwood, Tom Gledhill and Craig Simpson. Those lucky enough to get their hands on a copy will see the men sporting everything from footballs and cycling helmets to festive Santa hats (and not much else!).
The big reveal will take place at The Secret Sip on Middleton Road on Saturday (Decmber 8). A signed photobook of the Calendar Boys will be auctioned and the calendars will be available to buy for £10 each.
Neil, who lives in Middleton with Alex and their one-year-old daughter Annabelle, said: “Thank you to everyone at The Secret Sip for supporting us and helping to fund the fight against brain tumours. The most incredible thing about setting up Neil’s Appeal has been all the support we’ve been getting from our friends, family and even strangers.
“Chris and I are family friends, but I don’t know the rest of the guys who have stripped off for the calendar. It’s amazing that strangers would go to that length to support me and the thousands of others who are dealing with this disease.”
Andrea Pankiw, community fundraising manager at Brain Tumour Research in the North West, said:“We are extremely grateful to The Secret Sip for creating this calendar in aid of Neil’s Appeal, which will help us raise awareness of how devastating this disease is. It’s incredible that these men have dared to bare it all in support of Neil, even though the majority of them don’t have a personal connection with him.
“Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet, historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this disease.”
Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated Centres of Excellence in the UK; it also campaigns for the government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.
The charity is calling for an annual spend of £35m in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia.