Greenlaw men grin and bare it for charity

THERE has been a distinct lack of clothing being worn around Greenlaw in recent months.

Tradesmen, a football team and a postman have all been seen removing their uniforms at various locations across the village.

But before any Greenlaw resident reaches for the telephone to report a series of indecent exposures, it should be added that these generous men of the village have been posing nude for a 2009 charity calendar.

The calendar - entitled 'Tools of the Trade' - is launched this Saturday, October 25 at Rumbletonlaw Farm, with proceeds going to the renovation of Greenlaw War Memorial Hall.

The idea came from Kathryn Todd during a committee meeting of the Memorial Hall Restoration group.

She said: "A person from the village approached the committee in April/May time with an idea of doing a calendar with scenic pictures of the village.

"I said 'We could maybe make more of an impact with some gentlemen of the village' and at the local sports day we asked some men and the response was very positive."

So began the calendar shoot, with Kathryn being surprised at the numbers of male villagers willing to take part.

"They were not bothered in the slightest (about posing nude) - in fact we had a substitute's list in case any of the men pulled out of the shoot and it wasn't needed."

Photographer Adam Whellans put together the shoot, and originally coming from Greenlaw, he said he had a lot of fun despite dreadful weather conditions on the day of the shoot.

"It was a horrible day - it was drizzly rain all day for the boys but they were superb and just got on with it.

"They needed no persuasion. I think Kathryn thought they might struggle at first for numbers but in the end there was a reserve list that wasn't used. It is the first time I have taken photos of naked men and I think I will be scarred for life!

"Posing was no problem but they did have to have a couple of drinks beforehand!

"My house in Greenlaw was just beside the war memorial hall so I used to go there for pool competitions but it has hardly been used last 15 or 20 years so it would be good to get it going again."

Included in the calendar are Duns bookmaker Robert Hay (Mr November), Blackadder Hotel chef Ricky Sherwood and Kathryn's own husband Alistair (Mr April).

Among those posing were Greenlaw Football Club, who are currently third in the Border Amateur League Division B.

Player/manager George Blaikie said: "It was a good laugh and an easy thing to do to help the war memorial hall. The whole team did it apart from a couple of younger ones I let off.

"It wasn't hard to persuade them - footballers like to get naked!

"When I was a kid I used to be there (at the hall) all the time playing snooker and it was hard up then.

"It was a good hall and in fact when I started playing football we used it to get changed in before walking to the pitch."

George's brother John Blaikie, a local postman, also appeared in the calendar after unknowingly volunteering his services.

He said: "I was asked to do a favour by a friend and I said 'yes'. I didn't know what it was until they told me later on.

"I am definitely not looking forward to it coming out - I have to walk the streets of Greenlaw everyday!

"But it is all for a good cause - I used to visit the hall every Monday night for snooker. And as I keep telling everyone, it is only for 12 months."

So far the war memorial committee has raised 4,000, still a long way short of the 250,000 needed to complete all the refurbishments to the kitchen, toilets and roof.

But Kathryn hopes the calendars - with printing costs already covered by the selling of advertising - could double that amount.

She added: "We think the village is behind it - if we can raise a good amount of money then it means when we apply for external funding they can see that we mean business."

The committee was set up last year to resurrect the war memorial hall, which has been used for just a few hours a week over recent years by a snooker club.

The Bank Street building was built in 1882 and used by a working men's club after World War I, with snooker, table tennis, indoor bowls and darts being played within it.

It suffered damage after a World War II bomb hit the building in 1941 - also killing three soldiers - and had to receive a a major facelift in 1986 from a previous War Memorial Club who saved it from a "state of near dereliction."

However, one of its snooker tables had to be rescued after it was thrown into the town hall swimming pool in the 1970s.

It is now hoped the war memorial hall can jump out of the deep end and into a new future with the help of Greenlaw's nude tradesmen.

The thank you party for those involved takes place this Saturday, October 25 at Rumbletonlaw Farm, 8pm start.

'Tools of the Trade' calendars will be on sale for 5, and can be ordered through Kathryn Todd (01361 810641), Beth Muir (01361 810410) or Iain Caldwell (01361 810490).