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Make A Date With Your Own Sports Celebrity

Want a date with Chris Cairns? How about marking a special day with Bernice Mene, Stacey Jones or Marc Ellis?

The four are among 13 sports celebrities whose baby pictures feature in a new calendar produced especially for Plunket Appeal Week 8-14 October.

The idea for the calendar came from Woolworths supermarket category manager Natalie Preece after she gave birth to Christopher three months prematurely last year.

Natalie wanted to do something special to say thank you to the people in the Neo Natal Care Unit at National Women’s Hospital.

A brainstorm with husband Ray turned up the idea of a celebrity calendar with a difference – baby pictures of some of New Zealand’s most prominent sports people, past and present.

Natalie’s employer so liked the idea, the company suggested the calendar could double as a Plunket fundraiser as well as for the Neo Natal unit – an idea that has been welcomed wholeheartedly by both companies.

Woolworths is a sponsor of Plunket and has underwritten its contribution to Plunket to the tune of $50,000, but with Appeal Week fundraising and calendar sales, hopes to raise far more than this amount.

Plunket’s communications and marketing general manager, Craig Pollock, said the calendar is an opportunity for Plunket, and key child safety messages, to have a prominent place in the homes of New Zealand families who purchase the calendar.

Featured sports stars include Cairns and Mene as well as former All Blacks Terry Wright, Bernie McCahill and Grant Fox, Olympic Gold Medallists John Walker and Barbara Kendall with her brother Bruce and former world champion squash player Susan Devoy.

Warriors co-captain Stacey Jones is pictured with a favourite bunny and there are shots of Auckland NPC captain Xavier Rush and footy favourite Marc Ellis as well as cricketer Emily Drumm.

Natalie said the celebrity sports stars were ‘awesome’.

“Many even roped in their parents to drag out old photo albums,” she said. “It was wonderful to experience that special bond between parents and children – I’m sure many saw it as a special tribute to their folks.”

Natalie said Grant Fox was the first she approached. “He really helped me to get started and gave me lots of feedback and pointers.”

Early on in the project Natalie’s employer volunteered to stock the calendar exclusively at its Woolworths, Big Fresh and Price Chopper stores. “That was great. It meant the calendar now has national distribution.”

Natalie and Woolworths then worked closely with Craig Pollock from Plunket to devise the wording to go with the pictures.

Plunket gets $3 and National Women’s Neo Natal Unit $1 from the calendar’s $9.95 purchase price.

“It’s difficult to believe we were able to pull this project together. I’m just so thrilled to be able to thank everyone who has helped me to bring my Christopher into the world.

“It’s taken a year to make this happen and its wonderful to think that only weeks after Christopher’s first birthday the calendar will be on sale nation-wide.”

Woolworths is supporting its Plunket sponsorship with a ‘Donate a Dollar’ promotion during Appeal Week and a Family Day at all stores on 13 October. The company says it has instituted a number of family friendly initiatives to make shopping with infants a lot easier.


Issued for Woolworths (NZ) Ltd by Pead PR

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