Remember the British film "Calendar Girls"? Helen Mirren starred in the story of a village fundraiser that turned into a blockbuster. Can Mary King (who even looks a bit like an equestrian version of Mirren, back then) do the same for spinal research?
She obviously thinks she can--she's wearing only her prize Rolex watch and her HSBC armband in this photo, which is straight off the new "Riders Revealed" calendar from Great Britain.
Mary King wasn't alone--you'll recognize Piggy French, winner of July's Olympic Test Event, on the cover! (Piggy actually gets double-exposed, so to speak, since she is Miss March as well.)
The calendar fundraiser will be launched this week at the 2011 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in England. The goal? This is not just another charitable effort that makes you feel good when you write that check; this project is specifically planned to raise money calendar to get Claire Lomas, an event rider who was paralyzed from the chest down in a competition injury in 2007, walking again.
Since her accident four years ago, Claire has been an inspiration to many. That day in 2007 changed her life forever, but Claire is determined that she will one day walk again, and aims to do this with the aid of a ReWalk suit, a new robotic suit which will be available in Great Britain soon. Claire hopes to have the suit in time for 2012 London Marathon, and if this is the case she plans to walk the 26-mile route.
Calendary buyers around the world may actually see their donations in action, if Claire's wishes come true.
The Riders Revealed calendar features a total of thirty-three leading names from the equestrian world including Mary King, Geoff Billington, Mark Todd and Blyth Tait. It has taken five months to produce with riders being photographed all over Great Britain, and it is now available to purchase for ?10 plus post at www.ridersrevealed.co.uk.
"They have been amazing," Lomas said of her former colleagues. "Some took more persuading than others, some ignored me completely, and others were asking to be in it! I can't believe how brave the riders have been, the photos are fantastic. I am so grateful to everyone who has helped with this calendar, and everyone who buys a calendar."
Clare said she has already had a few people from the United States pre-order the calendar, and she has set up a special function on the order form for foreign orders, so it will sort out converting pounds to dollars and calculate the correct shipping rates.
Here's the link to purchase a calendar: http://www.ridersrevealed.co.uk/Buy-a-calendar.html