By Rebecca Drew
A GROUP of fearless London PENSIONERS are baring it all to raise money for Britain’s struggling older people’s services in a NUDE calendar.
Incredible pictures show staff and volunteers of the Elders Voice charity posing naked to break the stigma attached to growing old.
Husband and wife volunteers are pictured waltzing around a dayroom in the nude as a pianist looks on, whilst the charity’s handyman is captured giving a sink a closer inspection and the group of models sit down for a spot of tea.
Other stunning images taken by photographer, Liam Young (32) show a man posing strikingly on the charity’s rooftop overlooking the breath-taking London skyline and a group of volunteers forming a musical ensemble with just a tambourine, guitars and a piano concealing their modesty.
The models who are all staff, volunteers and service users of Elders Voice, a charity which provides support and social opportunities for older people over the age of 55 in the London Borough of Brent, have posed nude for its 2020 In Rude Health calendar, the proceeds of which will fund the charity’s services.
The witty pictures aim to challenge stereotypes about age and getting older and how older people are represented in the media.
Volunteer, Richard Downes was encouraged to get involved in the production of the calendar after his wife, Jean Bayliss, who also features in the calendar persuaded him to take part.
“I only really did it because my wife asked me to. She persuaded me it would be fun, and it would probably be the only time I ever did it. It helped that we have both had a long-term relationship with Elders Voice and feel supportive of the organisation,” said Richard.
“Other people may have been more concerned to say, ‘Aye! This is me, I’m 63 and this is how good I look and how great my life is.’ I don’t think anyone was snubbing their nose to the idea of the body beautiful and how we may be excluded from that imagery but maybe some of us were challenging that idea and saying look we’re here, we’re fit, we’re in rude health.
“There is certainly a wide gap being presented in the media between the well to do elderly and the lonely, isolated, pathetic bag of bones with nobody to look out for them. I think as a group we responded to that binary choice quite well and put ourselves forward as individuals, warts ‘n’ all.
“It was easy to pose in the nude both on my own and with others. We were having a fun day and were supportive of each other. Though having said that it’s a bit surprising that it was so easy. I guess I have grown accustomed to my body and have less hang-ups now than when I was a gawky gangly kid.”
The charity took their inspiration from Calendar Girls for their 2020 calendar and the idea was dreamt up by operations director, Karolina Januszek.
Ten people took part in the photoshoot with ages ranging from 45 to 84.
In Rude Health is available to buy from eBay for £15.00 including postage to a UK address.
CEO of Elders Voice, Jenny Davison also braved the photoshoot and spoke about the project.
“I decided to take part to make money for Elders Voice and to raise our profile. It felt like a fun way to do so,” said Jenny.
“The media generally sells us unrealistic images, so called ‘perfect bodies’ – but the reality is that the majority of people do not have these types of bodies.
“Older people are generally portrayed very negatively in the media. They are often portrayed as passive and vulnerable, or as unusual super octogenarians who jump out of aeroplanes.
“Neither of these is a realistic image of older people who are, after all just people with a variety of lifestyles.”
Elders Voice 2020 In Rude Health calendar is available to buy for £15.00 from eBay with all proceeds going directly to the charity.
For more information see https://bit.ly/2X1SqY7