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Garrison Girls Calendar

by Nick Robertson-Brown

BSoUP membber Nick Robertson-Brown, of Frogfish Photography, was recently asked to complete a particularly interesting project. He was asked to lead an underwater photo-shoot of nude ladies for a charity calendar, raising money for servicemen, and their families, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Without hesitation Nick offered his support for free to help this cause. PTSD is a topic close to his heart, as his brother has recently been diagnosed with the illness, nearly 30 years after both he and Nick served in the Falklands War. The charity, Garrison Girls, decided to take the plunge with their fourth fund raising calendar. Intrepid wives of serving soldiers, sailors and airmen posed in the nude, underwater, for this 2012 edition.

Caroline, Nick's wife and business partner, and also an underwater photographer, was delighted to be able to help out, making sure the photo-shoot ran smoothly over two days. Her father served in the RAF for over 40 years, so for both the owners of Frogfish Photography this is a charity they instantly knew they wanted to help. Caroline said We are best known for our images of underwater wildlife and have just returned from a month in Indonesia taking images of Manta Rays, Sharks and other marine life. This was a real challenge for us and we are delighted with the results. We are sure that the images and calendar will do a great job raising money and awareness for PTSD.

Garrison Girls Calendar
Garrison Girls Calendar

The Manchester Aquatics Centre kindly allowed the team to use their downstairs pool, providing the privacy needed for a nude shoot and to keep the project a secret until the launch date The Frogfish and Garrison Girls teams tried out various poses and props, finally deciding to go with the 3 forces flags, along with the union flag, to make the most of the reflections on the surface of the water. The photographer and models benefited from the weightlessness of working under-water, allowing the girls to move freely and create the appearance of dancing in the water. Over 2 day-long shoots, 12 servicemen's wives gave braved the water and bared their all to help the cause. Nick completed the shoot using breath holding, rather than scuba, to reduce the bubbles and ripples on the surface of the water. . In addition to the photographers, Frogfish Photography also provided medical support and assistance with brother and sister team Dr Alex and Teri Blythe.

Nick said It was a great opportunity for me to join forces with the Garrison Girls and produce these beautiful images for the 2012 calendar. Having served in the RAF for 22 years, this is a charity close to my heart. The team of wives that I met during this shoot are brave and inspirational characters and it was a wonderful experience.

Nick Robertson-Brown with the Garrison Girls
Nick Robertson-Brown with the Garrison Girls

The girls, ranging from young Mums to Grand Mums, stripped off once again to help raise money for their cause. They want to raise £5 million to help set up a retreat which will offer treatment and support for servicemen and women suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The aim will be to treat individual sufferers and whole family units.

Sarah Bennett Thurston, chief executive officer of the registered charity, said 'Our objective is to help stop the devastation of PTSD from breaking down a family and help ALL the victims of PTSD.'
Some people describe PTSD as the hidden wounds suffered by young men and women who have served in conflict areas all over the world.

Sarah said: 'We know people are struggling with finances and maybe a charity calendar is not high on the list of priorities but each one bought helps us towards our target. Every penny raised goes towards helping those suffering from PTSD.

Hopes are high that this unusual set of calendar images will inspire people put their hands in their pockets, as well as to raise the profile of the charity. The beautiful underwater images will be available within the 2012 calendar and also later as poster prints.

None of the girls have any modeling experience: they are service wives who have decided to do something a little bit different to raise money.

'I am often asked if the girls find it difficult stripping off and posing for a calendar. It's certainly not the usual behaviour for the wives, but any stress we feel is nothing when compared to what our husbands try to cope with every day when out on operations,' said Sarah.

More than 30 different service wives have graced the months of the three previous calendars and another dozen will be able to claim they are a Garrison Girl when the calendar goes on sale.

Copies will be available from The Forces Store

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