Community project ‘more than a calendar’

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The calendar, which is the brainchild of local blogger Suzannah Niklas, was launched at Tonbridge Old Fire Station on October 2 with the 12 winning photographs revealed.

It is the fourth year that it has been published, and Mrs Niklas told the Times: “It grows in popularity every year. It seems it’s the must-have calendar, which is fantastic because it raises an enormous amount for charity.”

It costs £8, with all proceeds going to three beneficiaries, Hospice in The Weald, Rett syndrome charity Rett UK and the 17th Tonbridge Scout and Guide Band.

Last year three charities each received £1,800: The Bridge Trust, which helps the homeless, mental health charity West Kent Mind and Chasing Connor’s Cure, which raises funds for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The calendar has been a huge success with more than 1,000 sold last year. “Orders are coming in from all over the UK and around the world,” said Mrs Niklas. “It’s a sobering thought that images of our beautiful town      are hanging in offices and homes on the other side of the globe. What better advertising can a town have?”

The picture chosen for the front cover was taken by Morgan Scott in Chiddingstone Causeway, looking out towards Charcott.

Mr Scott said: “I took the photo from the car park of The Little Brown Jug pub. It’s funny because as a photographer, I have thousands of pounds worth of posh photography gear and I took that photo on my iPhone.

“As they say, the best camera is the one you have on you at the time and the smart phone cameras are really great.

“It was a lovely scene as the sun was breaking through the stormy sky and I just had to capture it. I’m very pleased it got the front cover. I just hope it can help raise lots of money for the charities.”

The 17th Tonbridge Scout and Guide Band serenaded guests as they arrived at the launch party, with the Mayor Jill Anderson starting the celebration.

The ‘Litter Kickers’, award-winning environmentalists Danny Eisawy, 10 and his eight-year-old brother JoJo, were VIP guests.

Mrs Niklas said: “I asked these inspirational young Tonbridge brothers to be our guests as their daily litter-picking efforts make our town even more pleasant than it is already, and this marries well with the ethos of the calendar.”

She added: “It is really more than just a calendar. It’s a complete community project where so many people pitch in to make it work. It involves so many people from Tonbridge.

“Those who submit photographs, the judges whose hard task is to choose the images, the artwork, production and printing, the retailers who voluntarily sell the calendar – and all those who get behind the project and buy the product.

“It’s a massive community wheel involving the good spirit of the people of Tonbridge. I can’t think of another town who does this and this makes Tonbridge and its spirit unique. I feel really proud as should all those involved.”

She thanked Citrus Financial Management Limited for its sponsorship and said its Managing Director David Braithwaite ‘is thrilled to be involved in what he calls the perfect community project’.


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