University of Warwick’s Warwick Rowers have stripped off again for their 6th edition of their world-famous naked calendar, supporting the Sport Allies organization, a charity which was established to support the LGBT community, and raise awareness of and challenge homophobia in sport.
I had the privilege to receive the notice that a first-ever formal launch event for the calendar occurred recently in London’s May Fair Hotel, with special guest of honor actor Sir Ian McKellen.
“I was delighted to be asked, and more than happy to help the boys with the amazing work they are doing through Sport Allies. Though I did ask them to make clear on the invitation that I would remain clothed throughout the event.” said McKellen
The dedicated student athletes, by contrast, are rarely seen clothed and trained for six months to make sure they were camera-ready for this year’s shoot. As rower Paddy West said: “Having the calendar shoot coming up gave us all an extra incentive to get down the gym and get out in the boats, and we spent six months getting in shape. We really wanted to look our very best for our supporters when the kit came off!”
It’s more than just about the modeling, the members of the rowing club have been working with other student bodies, including representatives of Warwick Pride, the university’s LGBT organization for students, professionals from EY (Ernst & Young), and leading figures in the voluntary sector to roll Sport Allies out nationally, and to begin the process of creating an independent registered charity.
The calendar has been shown great success over the years, being recently named as the Charity Calendar of the Year at the UK’s National Calendar Awards, in addition to picking up the People’s Choice Awards.
The calendars (£14.99 RRP in shops and available for £12.99 plus P&P at warwickrowers.org) are supported by an online viral video and will be available to purchase alongside a range of merchandise including t-shirts, hoodies, limited edition prints, wall posters and greeting cards. The range is on pre-sale and can be purchased on www.warwickrowers.org. The Calendars will also be available in Calendar Club in the UK and Kitson in the US, among other selected retailers.
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