Great Yarmouth gym buddies flex muscles for charity calendar
- Credit: Wayne Pilgrim
It was nearly a year ago when Dan Hale pledged to support two of his best friends with their charitable work, despite having no idea where to start.
But 11 months on, and a lot of hard work later, he is one of the proud stars of a fundraising calendar that is hoped to sell like hot cakes in the run up to Christmas.
For the glossy almanac features Bradwell-based Dan and eight of his fellow gym-going friends in their finest form after they bared all for the charity shoot.
The team of buff buddies followed a strict regime of diet and fitness to get in top condition for their close ups, which now feature in the calendar that is raising money for the Thembalitsha Foundation.
The not-for-profit group supports needy people in South Africa and among its team is Emily and Rob House, who have volunteered for Thembalitsha in Cape Town for more than five years.
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The couple, who have two children, come back to Norfolk to see family and it was on Boxing Day 2013 while they were enjoying a drink with childhood friend Dan that he made his pledge.
Dan, 33, said: 'The work they do via the Thembalitsha Foundation is just amazing and although I knew I wanted to do this, I had absolutely no idea how.
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'After giving it some thought I decided that, given my love for fitness, putting together a calendar to sell would be a great way to do it.'
With this idea in mind he rushed to his gym, Fitness 2000 in Great Yarmouth, and together with manager Evan Beales thrashed out a plan.
Then the training began as Dan and his fellow models worked on getting themselves to the pinnacle of physical perfection by going on a 'cut' - a tough regime designed to strip away body fat while retaining muscle.
'There's exercising and keeping in shape and then there's getting in condition for the photo shoot.
'I had to be on point with my food, eating the right amount of calories, fibre, protein and I did specific exercises,' Dan added.
After 12 weeks of work the models were ready and Dan and Evan - who also stars in the calendar - brought photographer Wayne Pilgrim on board for the shoot.
Dan, a physical activity specialist with East Coast Community Healthcare, said he was 'exceptionally pleased' with the end result.
'I'm really, really proud of what we have achieved. I think the photos have come out amazingly and the calendar looks brilliant,' he added.
Emily, who is originally from Winterton and went to Flegg High School with Dan, was equally pleased with the calendar.
The 33-year-old said: 'I am so proud of and extremely humbled by what Dan has managed to achieve and the time, energy and commitment he has put into making this happen.'
It is hoped sales of the calender, and donations to a Just Giving page, will raise £1,500 for Thembalitsha, which runs healthcare, education and training projects for some of the most destitute people in South Africa.
The calendar is available from Fitness 2000 in Southtown Road priced £8.
n For more information about Thembalitsha visit www.hope.org.za To support the calendar team online visit www.justgiving.com/DanHale