Water company staff pose for saucy calendar

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The Independent Online

A dozen water company workers have bared nearly all for a charity calendar, with only a selection of strategically placed props to preserve their modesty.

Northumbrian Water has produced 500 copies of the Men In Hats 2010 calendar to raise money for charity Samaritans.

The calendar has been photographed in the style of the original Women's Institute Calendar Girls, with props including a shower cap and rubber duck, cycling helmet and bike, Santa hat and gift wrap and a chef's hat and utensils.

Curiosity is boosting sales at the water company, with more than 100 advance orders placed by colleagues keen to have a giggle at the pin-ups.

The 12 blushing boys are estates technician Paul Sinclair, of North Shields, customer advisor Chris Duke, of Chester le Street, facilities assistant Peter Lowther, from Bishop Auckland, facilities manager Dave Whiteley, of Tynemouth, customer advisor David Walker, of Sedgefield, marketing co-ordinator Thomas Baker, from Durham, technician strategy manager Eric Styan, of Newcastle, senior HR business analyst Neil Robson, of Durham City, health and safety advisor Peter Sheldon, of Great Lumley, Co Durham, applications team leader Lee Gallon, of Washington, legal executive Chris Doyle, of Cramlington, and customer advisor Gareth Thraves, from Gateshead.

Mr Sheldon said: "I really wanted take part in the calendar, even at 59 years old, to help a service that many individuals turn to for support.

"A friend of mine took his own life 12 years ago and at the time I felt I had let him down, not being there for him to talk to.

"Looking back at the situation, I realise that perhaps he didn't want to talk to a friend about his problems. That's where Samaritans come in."

Jane Morland, Northumbrian Water's corporate responsibility team leader, came up with the idea of the calendar.

"Our employees always rally round to support good causes and we had so many men asking to pose for the calendar, it's a shame there aren't more months in a year," she said.

"Although the calendar is in good humour, all proceeds will help provide the much-needed confidential service offered by Samaritans, who operate all the way through the Christmas period."

Bill Donnelly, director of Samaritans, said: "We are extremely grateful to the staff of Northumbrian Water in selecting Samaritans to be a chosen charity this Christmas. Funds raised from the sale of the calendar will be used to help us to reach out to high-risk groups and communities in our region."

Copies of the slimline Men In Hats 2010 calendar, priced at £3 each or two for £5, can be bought from Northumbrian Water.