Where it all began…
It all started many years ago when the club was a little smaller and we would joke about doing a Foxy Ladies Calendar and what that might look like. When we do our runs or training sessions, we take photos and share them on our private pages to encourage other members to get out and run or go to their training session. If ever there was a funny photo or someone would pose, we would joke “that’s one for the calendar”.
Fast forward a few years and the club is triple the size, then we started to witness first hand so many of our members being affected directly from cancer, and other members loosing family and close friends to this awful disease. We wanted to do something to show support and raise awareness of the sheer volume of cases within a small community and to raise money for the charities that have helped these ladies get through their treatment and on their journey to recovery.
With approval from some of those most recently affect, I decided that I wanted to turn that calendar dream into reality and set about pulling together a committee that could help bring this project out of my head and into life. Most of the ladies that gave up their time to help, were also going through cancer or had previously fought it, whilst others had lost near and dear relatives to the disease in recent years. The committee were brilliant, enthusiastic, and passionate about helping and roles were quickly agreed, and charities decided upon.
Macmillan Cancer Support was to be our national charity and Cancer United based in Angmering, our local one.
The images we wanted to include and discussed were quite some way off (thank goodness) from the very original shots we had joked about a few years previously. Instead, we were aiming for beautiful scenes from all the runs and sessions that we do throughout our Foxy running year. We were very lucky to secure the free services of professional photographer Anthony Hurren https://www.anthonyhurren.com/ whose wife just happens to be a Foxy lady along with a few taken by my own husband Matt Griggs, when Ant wasn’t available.
The images were planned for the year ahead and we recognised we had to crack on with December’s and secure the festive fun Christmas Park run a year before the calendar would be on sale.
Bridgit Brown oversaw picture planning, staging, and liaising with the photographer and the first few months of dates and image locations were sorted according to the seasonal requirements. Temesa Hurren was technical support to the photographer orchestrating movement, light, required flashes and positioning.
We agreed on what style calendar we wanted but had no idea how to turn that vision into a reality. Donna (chief printing liaison officer – she wanted a good title!) started to approach printing companies to see how much this would cost us. With or without design work it was going to be in the thousands… gulp! We realised we need to raise some funds to pay for the printing and set about our first fund raiser the “Foxy Ladies Charity Clothes Swap”. Pay £5 bring 5 items and take 5 items home with you, for any additional items a donation could be given. An afternoon of sorting clothes into various types and sizes, saw the committee working flat out to get it all ready. Vikki Whitelam our “dates on the calendar coordinator” sorted our venue with the upstairs function room at the Ian Hart Chapel which was kindly given to us for free and was jam-packed with the preloved sportswear and equipment. We had a great turn out from club members and managed to raise over £600 from both sales on the night and from our member Karen Philips kindly selling the left-over stock on Vinted and eBay after the event. Dara our accountant on the committee, set up the appropriate fundraising pages and we were pleased to have the fundraising off to a good start.
We should be so lucky
As the year gathered pace, we gathered images. We were lucky to have so many willing participants in the shape of Foxy members and offered a selection of midweek, weekend, then day and evening photo opportunities to get a real mix of members. Those on location shoots, combined with Ant’s ideas and how to get the most out of each shoot, meant that shortlisting images was difficult as there were too many good ones to choose from.
We were also received a very generous offer via a connection from a local printer, Pure Print to say they would print all our calendars for free as they liked and believed in what we were doing and enjoyed giving back to the community and local charities. We were blown away by their generosity and after receiving that good news, we had the confidence to approach and secure a designer in the shape of Paul Melbert, who then also gave his expert services for free. Once Paul and the printers were onboard things really progressed with the design. We were delighted with the artwork Paul came up with, along with his professional approach, gently guiding us through difficult decision making, eventually setting on a striking calendar with nice big bubble boxes for writing days out and a notes section plus race information in each month.
In preparation for when the calendars would be ready at the end of October, we started contacting all local news and media outlets, telling our story to anyone that would listen and giving them sneak previews of a couple of the images to tantalise their readers taste buds.
We even managed to get a little right up in section of Women’s Running Magazine November issue.
Hot off the press
Before too long the deadline date was in sight, all images were settled upon, design signed off and sent to the printers and then the anticipation mounted waiting for the call to say the first few were off the printing line and ready for launch night.
Donna and I set of to meet the lovely team at Pure Print and were amazed to find they had printed all 800 calendars and that we could collect them all right there and then. We were so grateful for printing our calendars for free Thank You Pure Print you have the biggest hearts. https://www.pureprint.com/
We invited members and local businesses and all the contributors to our launch evening held at Thomas A Becket pub. We had a great turn out and calendars flew out the door in their box load.
A short speech and thank you delivered to all our contributors and then we knew the hard work was about to start…. The actual selling of the calendar to anyone and everyone!
We managed to get lots of local retailers in the Findon and Broadwater Area to stock our calendars and sell them directly to the public collecting money via the QR codes we had made for the charities fundraising pages.
Natasha Schroeder and I visited almost every shop in the Findon Parade asking if they would purchase or stock our calendars, at times it was a little soul destroying but our faith was restored and we were delighted when these businesses agreed. Thank you to Gifted Worthing https://giftedworthing.co.uk/, The Coffee Camp https://www.thecoffeecamp.com/, Findon Flowers https://www.floristsussex.co.uk/, Kavanagh Designs https://kavanaghdesigns.co.uk/ it really helped.
Bridget also got calendars stocked at Broadwater Sports and Sussex Performance Centre.
We were kindly given space by Findon Valley Residents Association to sell the calendars at their local Sunday Farmers Market at Lime Tree Surgery and attended two in October and November but unfortunately the Christmas Market was cancelled due to bad weather.
Bright Lights Comedy https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/bright-lights-comedy-54114910173 also allowed us to have a stall at their popular comedy night in December at Findon Village Hall and kindly provided us with raffle prizes for our 10-year anniversary party.
As the foxes had a special 10-year celebration this year we set about organising a raffle for these charities. We were absolutely thrilled by all the donations both from members and local businesses with prizes for our members to win. Jo Elliott and I made up some beautiful hampers and vouchers with all the donations and we raised an astonishing £1100 in ticket sales.
As we moved into December, we promoted the calendar on social media as much as possible. I agreed to a promo video with Cancer United to help explain a little more about us and why we had put the calendar together.
The numbers of boxes started to dwindle down in my office and I could see floor space again!
Everyone loves a freebie so we decided one last push on sales before Christmas and then we would give away as many as we could at the last Worthing Park Run on 23rd December. This way we could offer people the opportunity to make an optional donation should they wish too.
Our calendars travelled as far as Ireland, Holland and even Australia.
We then gave remainder ones out to neighbours in the surrounding area of HQ and to our new intake of Learn to Run members.
We hope that everyone who has bought a calendar will not only enjoy looking through what the Foxy ladies get up to in a typical year but also be pleased that they have a contribution towards helping someone else and their cancer journey whether that is with Macmillan Cancer Support or with Cancer United.
I hope you have enjoyed reading our whole calendar experience and the journey we have been on for the last year, at times, its been challenging and a little stressful but also fun and most importantly so worthwhile.
We are really pleased to have sold or given out nearly 750 of the 800 calendars printed.
This means we are delighted to announce the money raised is a grand total of………
£3802.00 to Macmillan over two different donation pages
£4404.75 to Cancer United including £180 of direct sales.
Massive thanks to every Foxy member that helped sell calendars to their friends and families, to all the local businesses that support our sales, our wonderful committee, and most importantly to our photographer, the designer, and our printers for all doing the work for free. Thank you so much.