Eight ladies of the Jedforest Hunt have unzipped their sporting tweeds for a calendar raising money for Spinal Research.
Kate Mactaggart, an equine sports massage therapist who lives in Bedrule with her children and husband, said: “We’re always trying out innovative ideas to raise money.
“The idea came when about chatting with the girls. We thought about saucy postcards along the lines of the tennis star scratching her bottom, and then we thought: ‘Let’s make a calendar like the Calendar Girls. A few said ‘absolutely no way’, but a strong core of eight of us were happy to do it.
“I was definitely nervous about it: there was a certain amount of Dutch courage at 7am on the Saturday morning. We started off on sloe gin and champagne cocktails. When we were posing outside Yvette Jelfs’ shop in Hawick, we were offered quite a few drinks from people outside the pub opposite.”
“Half a bottle of rhubarb rum helped calm my nerves,” revealed Sarah Little, who can be seen riding through a river on a quadbike, with two terriers, Holly and Nettle, shielding her chest. “My bare legs were torn to shreds by the dogs trying to keep balance,” she said. “I feel a bit more confident. I’d definitely do this sort of thing again. Maybe in the snow.”
“We really just got into the swing of things,” Kate added. “The whole weekend was great fun. One person did say it was cold. We were lucky it stayed dry. We wanted the calendar to be tasteful and fun, and promote the Borders: the beautiful countryside andits sporting opportunities.
“Originally we were just fundraising for the Jedforest Hunt, but Spinal Research came into it because we’re all aware of the inherent risk of riding. We’ve all got family or friends who’ve had accidents riding, playing rugby or skiing, and have ended up in a wheelchair. It’s something we can’t comprehend, but it’s close to all our hearts.
“It’s just: ‘there but for the grace of God...’
“Every eight hours someone in the UK is paralysed by breaking their neck or their back. The work Spinal Research do to help find treatment for paralysis is really inspiring. We’d like to raise a minimum of £10,000. The calendars are £10 a shot, and 50 per cent is going to Spinal Research.
“The girls are all really proud. They were such great models. They also said they’d do it again, but maybe it’s the men’s turn next time.”