A GROUP of farm lasses and lads from Penrith have posed in nothing but their wellies for a Calendar Girls-style photoshoot for charity.

The 19, all members of Penrith Young Farmers Club, (YFC), stripped off for a 2020 calendar with proceeds going to three cancer charities - Hospice at Home, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Orchid, a charity fighting male cancer.

The idea was first mooted at a club finance meeting 12 months ago, when it was decided they should do something big for charity.

“We came up with a few ideas, but then someone said about a Calendar Girls-style calendar. We all laughed at first, but then the idea took root and we decided to just do it,” said one of the organisers, Terence McDonnell, a self-employed farm worker from Lazonby.

But it was not all plain sailing for the young farmers, whose ages range from 18 to 25. The idea was given the blessing at county level, but knocked back at the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs.

“They said no, claiming it was not the right image young farmers clubs should be portraying, and we should do a coffee morning instead,” explained Terence.

“We said it was a fun thing, done tastefully, but they still said no. So we decided in the end to go ahead anyway. It’s for charity, and how many would have turned out for a coffee morning?”

Without giving too much away, the game bunch counted down the 12 months of 2020 in not much more than their wellies - but, of course, with some strategically-placed items, including hay bales, spades, ploughs and tractors and gardening pots, and not forgetting Santa hats and bits of tinsel for the Christmas scene.

“We all wore either wellies, some wore boots, and the girls initially wore strapless bras and pants,” said Terence.

“Yes the girls are all pretty, but you cannot see anything but a little bare skin.

“On the front page of the calendar, for example, we are pictured with a JCB, but we all have hard hats and high vis vests.”

Photographer Paul Martin, from Lazonby, agreed to do the shoots.

“Paul, who is now retired, said he would take the photographs free-of-charge, so all the money raised would go to the three charities, particularly Orchid, as he had recovered after treatment for testicular cancer,” said Terence, 24, who is baring all on the calendar front cover and in the months of January, February, March, July, September, October and December.

But, as he explained there was a shortage of lads. “Some were reluctant, but some were very happy to just turn up and get their clothes off and pose.

“we ended up with 14 lasses and five lads in the end, although initially the girls were only happy to feature in girls-only photographs.”

Another organiser was Charlie Harrison, 23, a farmer’s daughter from Low House, Armathwaite, who said: “It made us closer as a club, and improved our confidence, and has given us the opportunity to do something good for charity.”

The 12-month shoots took place at various locations: January was feeding sheep on a local farm; February was celebrating St Valentine’s Day with a candlelit dinner in a calf shed involving four young farmers; March lambing; April feeding cows; May, an all girls line-up taking part in a tug-of-war; June in a local garden centre; July silaging; August all-girls again baling straw; September feeding cows; October ploughing; November baking in a farmhouse kitchen; and December a Christmas scene in a local pub. On the back page the young farmers are featured with tractors and balers.

Club member Julie Wilson, who featured in the August baling straw scene, said: “It was very daring, but a great idea in this time of doom and gloom, and to help our chosen charities.

“It was a bit chilly, but we didn’t mind. It was good fun.”

The calendar, which is also marking the club’s 85th anniversary, was launched on Wednesday evening at the Edenhall Country House Hotel.

“We wanted to mark the occasion and also to recognise the help given by our sponsors. We were just having a few drinks and making some speeches,” added Terence.

The club was fortunate to receive sponsorship from local companies, which has covered the cost of the printing, allowing all proceeds made from the sales to go to charity. The calendars are £10 each, with outlets posted on the Penrith YFC Facebook Page.

The calendar trend was started in 1999 by the ladies of Rylstone Women’s Institute in North Yorkshire, whose exploits were immortalised in the film Calendar Girls.