BASINGSTOKE RFC players have proved they are good sports by baring all to support their club's Stand Up 4 'Stoke appeal.

The Down Grange-based club is currently trying to raise £250,000 for a series of wide-ranging improvements, including building a 290-seater grandstand.

A special fundraising committee has been looking at ways to raise money - and one idea that came out of the meetings was for the club to produce a calendar with a difference to boost the appeal coffers.

Twelve members of the first team agreed to strip off for the calendar - which features the players in the buff - but it's all done in the best possible taste.

Gazette Newspapers - which is supporting the fundraising campaign - offered to do the photo-shoot, which took place at the club's Basingstoke headquarters.

Picture editor Jason Allen and Sarah Gaunt, senior photographer, snapped the players in various poses on the pitch and inside the clubhouse.

They then worked with colleague Tom Bellchambers, trainee photographer, on adding a bit of colour to each of the black and white shots.

First team senior coach Jim Dixon - who was one of those to get his kit off - said: "The boys wanted to do something to help contribute to all the fundraising for the new facilities that are going to benefit the club and us as players.

"This was a bit of fun and a good laugh - but I don't think we'll ever repeat it! Hopefully, the calendar will sell really well."

An initial 3,000 copies of the calendar - which go on sale today - have been produced by Basingstoke-based firm Microset Graphics.

It has already delivered a cash boost to the appeal since each page has been sponsored by local companies.

The calendar costs a minimum of £5 but buyers are welcome to give more if they want to. It is being sold through Basingstoke RFC and other local outlets listed in the panel on this page.

Dr Steve Tristram, Basingstoke RFC chairman, praised the players for being such good sports.

He said: "They all got into the spirit of things and everyone is really pleased with the end result.

"The club hopes that it will be a popular buy with members of the club and the general public in Basingstoke.

"The club is grateful for the support it has already received from Gazette Newspapers, Microset Graphics and all the sponsors who have supported the calendar.

"By buying one, people will be helping us towards our goal of making important improvements at the club, and helping Basingstoke RFC achieve its aim of strengthening its links with the local community and giving local people more access to its facilities."

Where to buy your calendar

Gazette Newspapers office in Church Street, Basingstoke

Linden Market, Old Basing

V & B Butchers, Oakley

Martins Tool Hire, Moniton Trading Estate, Basingstoke

Antonelli Jewellers, Church Street, Basingstoke

Microset Graphics, Tempus Business Centre, Houndmills, Basingstoke

Focus 21, London Street, Basingstoke

Manydown Farm Shop, Worting Road, Basingstoke

The calendar can also be ordered from Basingstoke RFC by e-mailing - an additional £2.50 will have to be paid for postage and packing. Cheques should be made payable to Basingstoke RFC.