Nurses get naked for charity calendar

Manager Gemma Cobb, right, with nursery nurses, from left, Louise Stanton, Sam Harding and Emma Wallis with the charity calendars

Manager Gemma Cobb, right, with nursery nurses, from left, Louise Stanton, Sam Harding and Emma Wallis with the charity calendars

First published in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

NAKED nursery staff hid behind carefully placed children's toys when they posed for a charity calendar to raise money for our Guardian Angels Appeal.

Their daring exploits were inspired by 20-year-old Natalie Strickson, who was a nursery nurse at Happy Jays until her sudden death from a heart condition in 2005.

Her family are dedicated supporters of our Guardian Angels Appeal and now Natalie's colleagues at the Clifton Moor nurser, in York. are also throwing their weight behind the appeal.

Gemma Cobb, nursery manager, said: "Death is part of life, but for it to come calling on somebody who was so young was tragic.

"We knew she had a heart problem, but it never stopped her from doing anything and her death was a complete shock.

"Everybody loved Natalie. She had a smile that anyone who met her would never forget and she was such a warm person who would join in everything." The calendar features female members of staff photographed within the nursery grounds with toys and workplace props carefully positioned to spare their blushes.

It is the second year that staff at Happy Jays have stripped off to become calendar girls. Last year, their antics were in memory of another colleague, Dawn Turner, who died in 2005 when she was struck by a previously undetected heart condition. Gemma said: "We were a lot more confident than last year and the photos are slightly more daring this time.

"We've used things like painting easels and balls and we've even gone outside for some of the photos.

"One of them is in the sandpit, using sandcastles.

"Doing the outside photos was freezing. It was a case of everyone getting ready, running out and getting back in as quickly as possible." Natalie, of Haxby, in York, was diagnosed with pulmonary atresia as a baby and underwent two heart operations before she turned six.

Doctors said her sudden death was extremely rare and happens in only two per cent of pulmonary atresia cases.

Each month's photograph is accompanied by poignant lyrics from Simply Red's Stars - one of Natalie's favourite songs.

The back of the calendar is packed with tributes to Natalie and the words to James Blunt's song, Beautiful, which was played at her funeral.

The calendars have been designed and printed at a discounted price by York firm Inc Dot, with the images taken by local professional photographer Sue Gill, who offered her services free of charge.

The 2008 calendar is available from Happy Jays for a minimum donation of £5. For details, phone the nursery on 01904 479261, or email hjyork@btconnect.com All proceeds will go to our Guardian Angels Appeal, which aims to raise £300,000 to fund a high dependency unit in the children's ward at York Hospital.

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