Peter Jacobs has become somewhat of an accidental cover boy, but for the retired carpenter and Santos engineer, getting his kit off to be photographed is a small price to pay if it means it helps someone struggling with mental health.
Peter appears on the front page of the 2021 Remarkable Men’s Calendar, featuring about 20 local blokes brave enough to get their gear off to pose and be tastefully photographed to raise money and awareness for Beyond Blue.
Nadine Garrard from Melrose’s North Star Hotel came up with the idea, having successfully organised two similar calendars in different communities in the past.
She said it was not difficult to find willing participants for such a good cause, and with local photographer Meridee Groves willing to give up her time to also take part, the idea quickly came together.
“I didn’t really have to persuade them much at all, and Meridee was really keen to help out,” Nadine said.
“We asked some of the local characters and wanted to capture them doing what they love, or just in their own environment. We’ve got farmers, stock agents, blokes at the tennis and bowls club, bike riders, a racehorse trainer, the working dog’s group, CFS, just all everyday people.
“Some of them were quite impressed with the results, others thought ‘how am I going to tell my wife?’ and others still haven’t told their family.”
The calendar has been so popular since its launch a month ago that almost all of the 250 copies have sold out, with the community expected to be able to present about $6500 to the Beyond Blue charity.
Peter said it was a bit of fun posing for the calendar and just hoped it would raise awareness of mental health and send a message to those struggling that their community is there to support them.
“It was the middle of winter, the coldest day of the year when Meridee was there taking photos and all the football crowd heading to training were giving me a toot on the way past,” he laughed.
“I’ve got a couple of really good mates who lost their battle with depression and others who really struggle all the time with it.
“I’ve painted a blue pole at the end of my driveway in support of Beyond Blue.
“I just want to help make people aware that there are people there who can help and listen, and just make others aware that there are a lot of people out there who are struggling and you might not realise it.”
With the whole community behind them, it has made the project worthwhile.
“I had a chap yesterday, 92-years-old, come up to me and shook my hand quite rigorously and said he really admires what we’ve done,” Peter said.
“You never really know who is struggling, it could be your best mate, but if they’re aware there are people they can talk to, it might just help them.”