Mid-Ulster businessmen flash their flesh for cancer!

Cathy Dempster, Emma McCann and Fiona Stewart having a sneek peek at the Mid Ulster Calendar Boys. Picture by Alexandra Barfoot.
Cathy Dempster, Emma McCann and Fiona Stewart having a sneek peek at the Mid Ulster Calendar Boys. Picture by Alexandra Barfoot.

BAKERS, butchers and bikers are among the well know Mid-Ulster personalities who have flashed their flesh for Cancer Focus Northern Ireland’s 2013 ‘Mid Ulster Calendar Boys’ calendar.

Local fundraising champion Emma McCann, who is behind the project, brought together some of Magherafelt and Cookstown’s best known male personalities for the calender which raises awareness of cancer.

Shot by Cookstown photographer Cathy Dempster and designed by Fiona Stewart of Bohemian Tree Designs, Culnady, the tongue-in-cheek calender sends out the meesage that cancer could affect anyone at any time.

Males from across the Mid-Ulster business world, including truckers, veg growers, cyclists and rugby players offered up their time and bodies to go towards the great cause.

Speaking to the MAIL on her creative charity project, Emma says the idea came about after the Magherafelt & Cookstown Lions Club all-male fashion show for testicular cancer last year.

“I felt the response was so great that I wanted to repeat it in some way, but to use my expertise in advertising to raise funds for Cancer Focus,” said Emma.

“It was a eureka moment and I believed that if I could convince several men in the area to participate then I was on to a winner.

“I knew that on the back of the male fashion show the Lions Club ran last year, there would be no problem getting willing models. I must say that the males in Mid Ulster are not in any way bashful!”

Emma then approached Cathy Dempster Photography in Cookstown to shoot the calendar and Fiona Stewart from Bohemian Tree Designs in Culnady to make up the art work; confident in knowing that the finished result would be a premier product.

Emma says she wanted the calendar to feature well known males in the area showing them at work and play but also carrying a subtle health message relating to each image.

“I believe that Cathy achieved this so well and hope that the messages come through clear,” she said.

“There was the temptation to be a little risqué, however we held back on that though I think there is still a little bit of something for the ladies!”

Emma says the fundraising project was a lot of fun

“It has been a difficult job coordinating all these gents and locations but possibly a labour of love!”

Emma says she is so grateful to her good friend Dr Mark Holloway for his input and advice on the appropriate health messages for each month.

Traditionally, it is said that men are not generally good at getting themselves checked on a regular basis so Emma and the team at Cancer Focus hope the calendar will help highlight the need to keep an eye on things and make an appointment with their GP if they are worried or concerned about anything.

“I feel that if only one person could potentially be helped as a result of this calendar, then it will have been a worthwhile venture,” added Emma.

All proceeds from the calendar are in aid of Cancer Focus Northern Ireland, which is the new name for the Ulster Cancer Foundation. The charity provides help and support to over 3,000 cancer patients in Northern Ireland - men and women, young and old, with all types of cancer and at all stages of illness.

Services include counselling, support groups, stop smoking clinics, walking groups, bra fitting services, journaling and art therapy, Beauty for Life, helpline and health checks in workplaces and community venues. All services are free of charge.

When Emma started this project she was a volunteer for Cancer Focus, but is now delighted to be employed by the charity as their Community Fundraising Officer in Mid-Ulster.

And no better woman for the job as Emma has a wealth of fundraising and event organising experience behind her and this, coupled with her advertising background, can only mean good news for the charity in this area.

Projects like this though could not happen if it wasn’t for the very generous sponsors and Emma can’t thank them enough.

The Moneymore woman has many plans and new ideas for the forthcoming year and is looking forward to working with local businesses and individuals to make them happen.

The Mid Ulster Calendar Boys 2013 calendar was launched on the 2nd Nov as part of Local Women’s Pre-Christmas Celebrity Fashion-Off at The Terrace Hotel, Magherafelt. Calendars can also be purchased at the following outlets: Burnavon Theatre Cookstown, Red Groomswear Cookstown, Sheehy’s news agents Cookstown, Moneymore Pharmacy, Moneymore Post Office, Christie’s Printers Magherafelt, O’Briens in Magherafelt, Sarah Jane Boutique Magherafelt and all Toner’s Spar shops in Castledawson, Magherafelt, Draperstown and Maghera.

For more information on Cancer Focus click on www.cancerfocusni.org or follow them on Facebook or Twitter @CancerFocusNI