Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 25 September 2018

Tractor calendar girls bare all - and it's for a great cause

Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Inspired by the Helen Mirren film Calendar Girls, a group of women from the Tipperary and Offaly area have produced a tractor calendar for 2018.

The calendar is in aid of five-year-old Billy Goulding, from Cloughjordan who is suffering from a rare spinal condition called Transverse Myelitis.

Billy’s mother, Eileen told the Farming Independent that her son has been paralysed from the chin down since a collapse in 2014 and prior to that had been perfectly able to walk.

“He collapsed without warning in July 2014. It was so upsetting and has completely changed all of our lives. The doctors told us that there was a one in a million chance of this happening,” she says. According to Eileen, Billy requires round-the-clock treatment and can never be left alone in case phlegm gets caught in the tube in his throat that is needed for him to be able to breathe properly.

As part of his treatment Billy must also travel to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in England twice a year for special physio. While doctors told Eileen that Billy would never be able to “walk again or play with a ball”, Eileen says the family have seen slight improvements in Billy’s condition as a result of the physio. “In his upper body he can now hold his own head and his shoulders are stronger and he has more movement in his left arm. I want Billy to walk again. I believe he can and won’t give up,” she adds.

To help fund Billy’s treatment and the adaptations they have had to make to their family home, Eileen and her friends got together to pose naked for the calendar with props carefully positioned, and while at the start some of those involved were nervous, she says that they all enjoyed the experience.

“Initially the girls said: ‘Sure who would buy it?’ but then they came round to the idea. We did the shoot in August. Some were nervous at the start but we all got our hair and make-up done and got into it then and enjoyed it,” says Eileen, who took the January spot in the calendar.

“The weather was cold and it did start raining for the last photo but it was a day for Billy and great fun.”

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Eileen’s husband Victor rears suckler calves and since Billy is farming and tractor mad she feels it’s only right that the calendar is farming themed. “He’s tractor mad. He loves blue ones especially. He gets so excited when he sees a tractor with a trailer pass when he’s in the car.”

Eileen, added that she would like to thank her husband, daughter, nurses and all her family and friends who help them look after Billy.

The calendar can be purchased on the Facebook page ‘Billy’s Recovery’ and costs €15.


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