The idea behind the Hens 'n' Guns 2016 calendar
PUBLISHED: 14:29 04 January 2016 | UPDATED: 14:29 04 January 2016
Lisa Macdonald-Smith reveals why the ladies of the Hens 'n' Guns were prepared to bare all to create a stylish calendar to raise money for a Dorset charity
It’s not often that you find yourself nearly naked in a field of rippling golden corn somewhere in Dorset, holding a broken gun over your arm and a dog by your side. But when it’s in order to raise some funds for a great local charity that has helped one of your best friends – well why not!
But I wasn’t alone, there were several other ladies prepared to tastefully bare all alongside me. They were fellow members of the Dorset-based women only shooting club Hens ‘n’ Guns. And we were doing this bold photo shoot to support one of our members.
Hens ‘n’ Guns was started four years ago by me, my friends Karen Rees, Clare ‘Tigs’ Bundy and Claire Vincent. Some of us, having been the founding members of Dorset Game Birds in 2006, decided that a smaller, more intimate ladies only group was the way forward and Hens ‘n’ Guns was hatched! The majority of us live around Wareham and Blandford, but we also have members from Christchurch and Cucklington.
Since setting up Hens ‘n’ Guns we have had a lot of fun: we compete in local clay competitions, game shoot, gundog train and work our dogs in the field. Some of our members go fly fishing and stalking - basically anything to do with country pursuits. We also hold an annual charity clay shoot by kind permission of Bloxworth Estate to raise money towards our chosen charity for the year.
Last year we raised over £4,000 for Pancreatic Cancer Research with a charity clay shoot sponsored by AC Shooting School, Blandford and our first Hens ‘n’ Guns Calendar. The idea for the calendar came about at a girlie shooting weekend. Over supper (and after several glasses of wine) we came up with this mad idea of making some money for local charities by doing one of those ‘WI Calendar Girls’ type shoots. It took a while to convince ourselves to do it - a lot of us are not exactly spring chickens or built like models - but in the end we decided that what mattered was to show real ladies doing a sport they love. We were also very lucky that one of our Hens, Clare (Tigs) Bundy, is an extremely talented amateur photographer. So Tigs has taken most of the photographs for our 2016 calendar.
This year things took an unexpected turn, one of our chief Hens, Karen Rees, was diagnosed with colon cancer in January 2015. After major surgery in February she is now cancer free and fighting fit thanks to the fantastic support and expertise of the Bowel Cancer Unit at Poole General Hospital. So this year’s calendar is to raise money for the Poole Hospital Bowel and Colon Cancer Fund.
So in our dressing gowns, with guns in hand and dogs at our heels, we bared all for another calendar. We started in February and took the final shots in June. To do a special photo shoot like this we required some privacy in beautiful Dorset locations; so we would like to thank Graham Brown of Purbeck Shooting School for letting us have the sole use of his grounds when no one was around, also Iwerne Estate and Bloxworth Estate.
We got things off to a flying start in August fundraising over £1,800 at our charity clay shoot sponsored by Purbeck Shooting School and held at Bloxworth Estate. There has been a lot of laughter and tears during the photo shoots, which have been so close to our hearts, and Karen appears several times in our latest calendar. We hope that with great sales of the Hens ‘n’ Guns Calendar we will be helping lots of local people who could find themselves in a similar situation to Karen.
Where to buy the Hens ‘n’ Guns Calendar
Hens ‘n’ Guns Calendar 2016 costs £10 find it locally at Dorset Aqua Dogs Hydrotherapy, Purbeck Shooting School (Bere Regis), Conyers Gun Shop (Blandford), The Dorset Gun Company (Parkstone) and Lamberts of Ringwood to name but a few. Or order online for £13 (includes postage) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or via the Facebook page - Hens ‘N’ Guns Calendar. If you would like to make a donation towards our chosen charity, Poole Hospital Bowel and Colon Cancer Fund, then please contact either Lisa Macdonald-Smith on 07796 271536 or Karen Rees on 07818 112719. If you would like to know more about Hens ‘n’ Guns then please call Lisa or Karen on the numbers above.