MARINES from 40 Commando have stripped down to raise money for the charity which supports their families while they serve their country.
The charity, which is dedicated to supporting Royal Marines and their families, hopes to raise more than £50,000 through sales of a calendar – featuring a cheeky collection of pictures of Taunton’s 40 Commandos, who are currently on deployment in Afghanistan.
Go Commando spokeswoman Debbie Howarth said: “There is the huge fun and raunchy side to the calendar but, underneath, is the extremely important and serious element of fundraising.
“Being a wife, partner or parent with a loved-one serving in a military unit can be extremely stressful and the reality of caring for an injured husband or partner is an unfortunate fact of life faced by many courageous women.
“This is proving a great morale boost for the lads over in Afghanistan who tragically lost one of their colleagues – Cpl David O’Connor – together with three others working on attachment to 40 Commando within the past couple of weeks. Our thoughts are with their families.”
Interest on social media sites has reached fever-pitch and more than 1,000 pre-orders have been made for copies of the tongue-in-cheek wall planner, which is the third produced by the charity since it was set up in 2010.
It was touch-and-go whether the edition would get the go-ahead this year, as the unit’s busy pre-tour training regime over the summer meant there was little time for the photoshoot.
But commanding officer Lt Col Matt Jackson RM pulled out all the stops to make it happen and suggested it would be a fitting tribute if the edition only featured those marines who were in preparation for their forthcoming tour.
A date was set for the snaps to be taken over a day in July by unit photographer Rhys O’Leary, who emailed the images back to the UK after his deployment.
With time fast running out to get the calendar produced before the Christmas rush, the charity then faced a tense wait for permission to use the images, which was thankfully granted and production went into full swing soon after, thanks to an anonymous local sponsor who funded the printing costs.
Copies of the calendar can by ordered via Go Commando’s website, www.gocommando.org.uk