By Rach Griffiths
Toni Pownall (pictured below in her silver dress) sadly passed away 20/09/13.
Friday the 30th August 2013 was a night be to remembered by all who attended the official launch event for the Crewe Calendar Girls charity calendar in aid Diabetes UK at the Crewe Alexandra Carlsberg Lounge.
Hundreds packed the suite for the official unveiling of the 2014 calendar that is set to raise thousands of pounds for Diabetes UK.
The idea started from a text conversation between local lady Toni Pownall and her close friend Emma Potter.
In the friendly text conversation last year, the ladies joked that Crewe should have its very own Calendar girls and this set the wheels in motion for Toni who set about in turning the idea into reality.
Toni, the owner of Crewe based Photography business ‘Pickles Pics’ and after a lot of meetings with friends she decided to create a calendar to raise money for charity Diabetes UK.
Toni took the girls to locations around Cheshire and North Wales holding photo shoots with the girls and created some really beautiful but tasteful nude shots of local ladies in hope to raise awareness of the charity and help raise some money for a brilliant cause.
Toni chose Diabetes UK as she has had Diabetes for over 20 years and she wanted to do something to help the charity in research and helping others with the condition.
Emma Potter who is the lovely Miss August had her shoot done on Talacre Beach in North Wales.
All this started with our misunderstood text messages back in November 2012.
I jokingly said to Toni that she should do a twelve days of Christmas picture for a bit of fun, Toni misread it and took it as a twelve month calendar.
The naked idea was from a discussion between Toni and daughter Vikki, they did an appeal on Facebook for fun loving ladies to get involved, the response was amazing.
We turned it into a get together of local ladies who wanted to be in the calendar.
It was only when Toni had her volunteers that she ran the naked idea past them to see how they reacted.
The the ladies jumped at the chance and so the idea was born.
We asked Emma how she felt about stripping in a public place during her photo shoot
My shoot took place in March 2013, we went to Talacre at night straight after I finished work.
On the way to Wales I was stripping in the car, as we drove down to the beach I wriggled into my dressing gown, the sun was starting to set so the lighting was perfect, it was not that cold so I didnt mind too much.
When I finally got onto the beach there was a couple strolling up towards us, they didnt notice what we were doing, they just walked by.
Next we had a young couple come walking by, they stopped and the young man had a look at what we were doing.
I was only aware of all this after I had got up and got dressed.
My friend claire told me but I was’nt really bothered as it was for a great cause and we were glad we were doing something to bring awareness to Diabetes UK.
I am glad I have been a part of this as recently I have myself been diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes, so for me this has become even more important part of my life for the last few months and I am so glad I have been able to help make a difference.
We managed to have a quick chat with Claire Woods who is the beautiful Miss October.
She told us about what it was like to be part of the Calendar.
My photo shoot time was around 10.30 pm in a local cemetary, it was raining that night and I was absolutely freezing.
I was not too bothered about taking my clothes off as there was nobody around when we first got to the location, halfway through there was a car that kept driving past and it was a bit off putting so we called it a night.
We went back another time and there was only a man walking his dog, he just walked past us and never raised an eyelid and we managed to finish our session.
I was very cold as I was lying there for a good 45 minutes, we were waiting for the right kind of lighting to quickly take the pictures.
I would definitely do something like this again, it was fun and for a great charity.
The Launch Evening
Jason Griffiths from The Crewe News was the host for the evening and he opened the event welcoming all who were there and kept the event running smoothly throughout.
The evening started with the lovely
Rachael Roberts who is a local Amy Winehouse tribute artist.
She was very much like Amy, not just in voice but her mannerisms and had the audience gripped with her versions of Rehab, Back to Black, Valerie and You Know I’m No Good.
Rachel had the venue in stitches as she invited men from the audience to dance along with her, it was very funny and brought the house down.
Throughout the evening there were raffle tickets being sold and also there was a Pot Of Gold being sold around the room giving people chance to win 50% of what was in it and this proved very popular with all in the room.
In the middle of the evening speeches and thanks were made.
Toni was then presented with some lovely box cameras bought by the Calendar girls in appreciation for all of her hard work.
Local lads Breaking Glass finished off the nights event with some great live music and the place was buzzing with atmosphere, everyone was dancing to the lads.
The event was finally brought to a finish by a disco supplied for free by local company Excalibur Entertainment.
The calendar launch event proved to be a huge success and was a real credit to the hard work by Toni and the girls.
Toni is well known for being a fun loving person and she really made a good job in organising this event.
This is certainly one that will be remembered in Crewe for a long time to come.
The total made on the launch evening was a grand total of £3,374 which was astounding and Toni and the team are thrilled in the generosity of the people that have been part of it.
The Pot Of Gold was won by London lady Kris Drage who had travelled up specially for the occasion.
The sale of all calendars will also go towards the final total so please get yourself a copy.
The calendar has been shot in a brilliant way and is a real fun idea, it is a real credit to Toni and the girls.
A big thank you to all who are here tonight and it could’nt have gone any better.
I would like to thank all those that have helped me to publicise the calendar and launch, those that have donated items for my raffle, local businesses who have supported me along the way.
Most of all I would like to send a big thanks out to my girls who without them none of this could have taken place.
I have enjoyed working on this project and am really astounded at the response that I and my team of helpers have had.
I cannot even begin to thank you all enough.
The whole thing has been amazing from start to finish, especially my photo shoot with a certain lady on Talacre beach in North Wales, how we laughed during that one I can tell you”.
If you want to get your hands on a copy of this saucy but tasteful calendar then you can get them directly from us as we are selling them from The Crewe News Website.
The calendar is priced £5 and we will personally drop yours off if you live locally in Crewe or Nantwich or you can email us to arrange postage wherever you live in the UK.
Get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch.
You can also ring us on The Crewe News on
Calendars are also on sale from Bert&Bella in Nantwich and Leighton Hospital in Crewe.
Toni would like to send a big thank you to the following people who have helped and apologises for anyone she has missed.
Her lovely children, Lins, Stuart, Emma, the gorgeous Calendar ladies.
Sponsors: Warble Entertainment Agency, SG Leathers, Like Cake Catering, Alexander Vets, The Studio & Entertainment Agency, Wuffcuts, The Crewe and Nantwich Lions, Newpark Motors, WTD Promotions, Eerie Evenings, The Crewe News and Westside Private Hire.
Diabetes UK, Breaking Glass, Rachael Roberts, The Hunters Lodge, Liz Reid, Mike Powell, Gav, Bert&Bella, The Crewe Alexandra Stadium, BBC Radio Stoke, Crewe Balloons, Dorothy Flude, Adrian Heald, Edward Timpson.
There are many more to thank so please accept a big thank you from Toni to all involved.
Story ©Rach Griffiths 2013
Pictures supplied courtesy of Toni Pownall and The Crewe News