Blues go blue for charity

PHOTOS/Toby Mather

Oxford’s top athletes have set aside their sticks, oars, bats and balls to bare all for a charity nude calendar.

The Oxford Blues Charity Naked Calendar, featuring photos taken by Jesus student Toby Mather, exhibits 70 Blues athletes, their modesty kept intact by a host of cunning camera angles and strategically-positioned objects.

Teams featured in the calendar include athletics, fencing, lacrosse, netball, polo, rowing, rugby, squash, swimming, tennis and triathlon.

Ollie Bristowe, a member of the rowing team at St Peter’s, adorns April with his disrobed 6’ 4’’ frame. He said: “I was just hanging out in the boathouse when some guy turned up with a camera. Apparently it’s for charity.”

Though far from the first of its kind in Oxford, the RAG-organised calendar marks the first time such charitable nudity has been coordinated on a university-wide scale. The project is RAG’s latest fundraising effort to help meet its target of raising £100,000 for its student-elected charities this year.

Other recent initiatives have included Dodgeball Cuppers, their annual Summer Twist cocktail event, and a burrito-eating competition.

The proceeds from the calendar will be shared between RAG’s four chosen charities for the term: The Oxford Food Bank, Education Partnerships Africa, Students Supporting Street Kids and Giving What We Can.

Edward Higson, president of the Oxford chapter of Giving What We Can, lauded the calendar as “an arousing success” and its athletes as “fit”.

RAG Events Officer Nathalie Cooper commented that, while the calendar has only recently gone on sale, it has “already generated quite a buzz” and that they are “really pleased with the final outcome” of the calendar. She added that the RAG committee are “optimistic that it will raise a lot of money for our four great causes”.

Mansfield student Iain Mandale, who this year rowed Oxford’s Isis boat to victory over Cambridge’s Goldie during the Boat Race, said that a few problems had been encountered during the photoshoots. “The inevitable shrink came on as soon as we entered the breezy boat bay – it’s always best to warm up properly before a session”, he commented.

The charity calendar is available to buy online from the Oxford University Shop for £10 and can be found here:

PHOTOS/Toby Mather