Making the Calendar
Making the Calendar
“Wouldn’t it be great” said intern Molly Owens during summer 2013, “if we could do a calendar with the soldiers and some people with A-T”. Looking back, it’s funny to think this passing comment took on a life of its own and changed the whole course of 2014.
The men of 20 Transport Squadron The Royal Logistic Corps immediately offered to strip off along the lines of “The Calendar Girls” but were gently reminded the A-T Society is a charity supporting disabled children.... sorry ladies! However, the idea grew over the winter, and with photographer Frances Newman offering her skills gratis, and Bournemouth Colour Press being incredibly supportive about the printing, the plan began to take shape.
Fast forward to March and work experience student Becci Uden met with Frances and the soldiers at Regents Park Barracks to talk through ideas for the Family Weekend photo shoot at Heathrow. Props, including five uniform variations for each soldier, camouflage netting and a landrover were requisitioned and Sgt. Lilley made contact with Max Gilbert of the Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers, a London Cab driver with a particularly handsome Taxi. Various companies and helpful people made or donated props and costumes, and The Royal British Legion were happy to get involved.
We realised the project had to be completed in just two hours on Sunday morning, and that to achieve this we needed a second photographer. Step up Andy Wilkinson, who made a great impression at Manchester in 2013 and offered his services without hesitation.
The next months were a hive of activity as the storeroom filled with boxes of Christmas jumpers and Easter Eggs. The Halloween spider was a particularly unwelcome guest! The plan was fine tuned, each month themed, and the shooting schedule finalised. All of the families attending the weekend were invited to get involved.
The Photo Shoot
The Family Weekend arrived and Saturday evening saw Superheroes and Princesses transforming the hotel into Gotham City. It’s no joke trying to get 30 children to look at a single photographer when their parents are all snapping away and the resulting picture (May) is one you will have seen on Facebook soon after the event.
By 9am on Sunday two ‘studios’ had been set up and tables overflowing with props were laid out to make the photo shoot as efficient as possible. Children arrived with their costumes, the photographers were ready to go.... but where were the soldiers? Step forward five rather sheepish interns who admitted to hustling drinks from the men until 3am! “They might be a bit tired” said Zena looking as though butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth!
But just a few minutes later the men of 20 Transport Squadron in full uniform marched in to save the day and, with quick changes of kit, raced from studio to studio to help create most of the pictures you see in the calendar.
The August picture was taken outside, and there was a brief panic when the bicycle for Paralympian cyclist Roxy Burns to use for the Ride London shot was misplaced. While Mac McIntyre hunted it down we chatted with Max Gilbert and admired his cab. You might have seen it during the opening ceremony of the London Olympics when Max drove Spice Girl Geri Halliwell into the stadium, with the roof of the cab matching ‘that’ very famous Geri dress.
The landrover was driven into the exhibition hall and before we knew it, Dads and children were swarming all over it. There was plenty of dressing up kit to go around and even the coolest of young adults couldn’t resist pulling on the gear and posing for the shot which became the back cover.
The remaining pictures were taken at the end of the morning session and include everyone who wanted to be part of the fun.
We’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone involved, and to those families who couldn’t be there, but sent pictures to include in the montage page.
We hope you like the calendar and that you will buy many copies to share with your family, friends, work colleagues, teachers, local press....... the list is endless!