Wolseley glamour girls raise £28,200 for charity

THE glamour girls of Ripon's biggest employer, Wolseley UK, are celebrating the success of their revealing 2005 calendar after raising a mammoth £28,200 for charity.

Along with token male Tom Thorogood, who has since left the company, 22 females from the purchase services department stripped off for the photo shoot.

Since the calendar’s launch, 17,380 copies have been sold to a range of customers, including other businesses and even Wolseley employees in the USA.

And last week two cheques for 14,100 were presented to representatives of the beneficiaries of the calendar – the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Cancer Research into leukaemia lymphoma.

Employee Mrs Phyllis Simpson, who did not pose but helped create the calendar, confessed her delight at the amount of money raised.

She said: “It is absolutely wonderful and we are over the moon. Initially when we started out we thought we were being very ambitious in looking to raise 20,000 including clearing all the costs, but we have gone and exceeded that which is brilliant.”

The idea for the calendar came from employee Maureen Town and it was decided which charities would benefit from the project when company secretary Richard Clay sadly died of lymphoma.

Mr Clay also supported the Multiple Sclerosis Society due to his mother’s death from the illness and Mrs Simpson said everybody agreed the money should be shared between Cancer Research and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

“He was so popular and it just seemed appropriate,” she said. “We spoke to his family and they were more than happy for us to do it.”

Once the charities and models had been selected local amateur photographer Nigel Baldwin shot the photographs at both the builders’ yard and branch on Dallamires Lane and the main office on Boroughbridge Road.

And while anybody who has seen the calendar will agree that the employees were certainly not shy (underwear is the most clothing you get), Mrs Simpson said the end results were down to the photographer.

“Shooting it was absolutely brilliant, everybody was fine and nobody had any hang-ups about the poses,” added Mrs Simpson.

“But I think a lot of it was down to Nigel as he was a fantastic guy. He made it fun and made the girls feel so at ease that they just looked at the whole thing with no worries!”

Despite the roaring success of the 2005 calendar, the Wolseley girls are unlikely to be creating a sequel for 2006, with Mrs Simpson saying the 2005 effort took a “lot of hard work”.

But Mrs Simpson says the team at Wolseley will forever have fond memories of their five minutes of fame.

“It was very good shooting it and so many people volunteered that we have had to put a few people on just one picture for some of the months,” she said.

“The presence of just one male in the calendar also became a bit of a talking point!”

Meanwhile, workers at Wolseley UK in Ripon are back in action this weekend to raise even more money for charity, in memory of former work colleague Mike Greer.

Ten runners and walkers in the IT team are raising sponsorship in support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, by joining around 900 other fundraisers tackling the Baildon Boundary Way near Shipley on Sunday.

The workers have already raised more than 1,500 in sponsorship, including a 1,000 donation from the Wolseley Group Charitable Trust.

Craig Cantwell, a technical analyst at Wolseley UK said: "Mike Greer was a popular and central member of the Wolseley IT team at Ripon. We were all shocked and saddened at his sudden death.

“Taking part in the half marathon seemed a good way of focusing attention on the issue of diabetes research, and turning this tragic event into something positive."