Pelucchi Lends a Paw - the making of a charity calendar
There's a quote I have saved on my phone, attributed to Richard Branson, that says "if someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you're not sure if you can do it, say yes and learn how to do it later".
I personally love this quote. It's basically saying don't let your fears get in your way of something amazing, which is an excellent attitude to live by, in business as well as in life.
When Pelucchi's "utter uselessness PA" got in touch to ask if I was interested in helping with his charity calendar for 2021, I did think carefully about it. It was a far bigger project than anything I'd ever taken on before, and obviously as a small business I can only support a limited number of charities and good causes each year with normally either a personal or local connection or related to dogs. But I absolutely loved the whole concept of the calendar, and with several family members and close friends being involved with the Ambulance Service, Fire Brigade, Police Service, Coastguard and other services, I felt it was a cause that very much fitted in with who I am and the people who are close to my heart. So - I took the plunge!
Pelucchi is the Barkshire Firefighter, a tripawd Yorkshire Terrier with a big personality, and spends a lot of time visiting his friends in the Emergency Services and promoting their work and safety messages through his social media channels. This year was to be his fourth charity calendar, and in light of the pandemic that overtook the world in 2020, he decided to raise funds for Our Blue Light Charity, who support physical and mental well-being for Emergency, Voluntary and Essential Workers, and the National Emergency Service Museum, an independent charity who have had much of their income cut this year because of prolonged closure due to lockdown.
Over the weeks in the lead-up to the photo shoot, the PA and I spent a lot of time discussing ideas, from who would be joining us to the different locations we would be shooting at. The main photo shoot took place over three days in Yorkshire with an extra day in Leicestershire, and included the RNLI Station in Scarborough, a training session with York Rescue Boat on the River Ouse in York, Stanton Lakes and Fosse Meadows Country Park, as well as exclusive access to the National Emergency Services Museum, where CEO Matt was absolutely brilliant at producing the random things we asked for at the drop of a hat - from period uniforms, to helmets, fire buckets and even a Santa suit!
(shhh - but we think he has a Harry Potter-type Room of Requirement going on in there!)
We also had many of Pelucchi's friends coming along to help us and appear in different shots to represent the different Emergency and Voluntary sectors as well as some of the support services used by Our Blue Light to help with mental well-being, including Pete Lewin's Newfoundlands who offer Emotional Support Swims, and Andy from Andy's Landie, who promotes men's mental health.
With any shoot, the pressing of the button is just the start of the work. We took well over 1000 photos, which had to be culled, sorted, semi-edited, compared and discussed before we finally got down to the final images that would appear on the calendar. The original brief was 14 calendar images plus a few for promotional purposes, but we just couldn't get it down to that number - so the back page is now a collage showing some of our favourites that didn't quite make an individual month!
Aside from the practical work shooting and editing the shots, a huge thank you must go out to the businesses who agreed to fund the printing and postage costs for the calendar, which means that 100% of sales will go to Our Blue Light and the National Emergency Services Museum. Pelucchi, the PA and I are thrilled that they will get the maximum benefit from what we are able to raise.
The calendar is on sale for pre-orders now at mrpelucchi.co.uk/myshop
In case you want to find out more about the charities or any of the calendar supporters, here are the links:
Charities supported: Our Blue Light and National Emergency Services Museum
Printing funded by: South West Care Homes, Med Tree, Reach & Rescue Ltd, Ianthe Galleria
Printing & Packaging: McRay Press and Milton Pro-tect Ltd
Our volunteers, models & services represented in the calendar (in no particular order):
Pete Lewin Newfoundlands - Emotional Support Swims
Andy's Landie - Men's Mental Health Specialist
York Rescue Boat
Sophie & Fiona from Severn Area Rescue Association
Tommy from Tyne & Wear Fire Rescue Service
Anni & the late Zee from Scarborough & Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team
Luke & Diesel from Leicestershire Search and Rescue
CEO Matt & volunteer Mick from National Emergency Services Museum
Mark and Helen from Our Blue Light
Ambulance YT 9792 - Vehicle owned by London Ambulance Service Historic Collection