City calendars girls (and boys) are in full bloom

Sarah's Florist calendar: Sarah Adshead
Sarah's Florist calendar: Sarah Adshead

WITH strategically placed foliage, blooms and accessories, the florists of Middlewood Road are giving their all for a children’s hospice.

Staff at Sarah’s Florists, near the Leppings Lane junction, have picked up the Calendar Girls theme after one of them lost a nine-year-daughter to cancer.

Money is being raised for Bluebell Wood children’s hospice, which helped senior florist Claire Houlden during and after the illness that claimed Ellie four years ago.

“We are doing it for Claire and Ellie and to keep Ellie’s memory alive,” said shop owner Sarah Adshead (Miss January).

An initial batch of 200 calendars sold out quickly, another 200 have almost gone, and more are being ordered.

“I don’t like to brag but we are very sexual!” reasoned Sarah. “They are flying out of the shop! But obviously it’s very tasteful, it’s for a children’s charity!”

She broached the idea with Claire, whose daughter was diagnosed with the childhood cancer, neuroblastoma, at the age of six.

“I said a few months ago maybe we should have a girls’ calendar for Bluebell Wood and she liked the idea and everybody in the shop liked it,” said Sarah, who lives in Lodge Moor.

Staff from the shop – Denise Beaumont, Sarah Kelk, Katy Hodgkinson, Janey Needham, and Sarah’s mum, Ann, who occasionally helps out – stripped their leaves for the calendar and a couple of male drivers, Brian Merrill and Chris Ellis, caught the spirit.

Also in on the act is ‘Auntie’ Joyce Whiteley, who calls to make the tea and to take Sarah’s dog for a walk. “She’s gorgeous – a friend of the shop,” said Ann.

Photographer Alan Greaves, who runs ASG Photography in Middlewood Road, was approached “for a favour” and the pictures were taken in the shop, in the studio and outdoors.

“We did it in two or three sessions,” said Alan. “It was good fun – there was much hilarity.”

Printers Jenkinson Marshall & Co produced the calendars at cost, and already early sales of the calendar, which costs £6 and is available from the florist’s and other shops in Middlewood Road, have raised £740 for the hospice at North Anston, which gave such crucial help to Claire, who lives in Upperthorpe.

“Everybody has been brilliant – very supportive,” said Sarah, who started the business ten years ago at the age of 24.

“People seem to like what we do. We are a nice modern florist’s and we’re a bit cheaper.

“And we are down to earth.”

As the calendar shows.