A TOPLESS charity calendar, featuring members of a Women’s Institute, sold its first 200 copies within a week and is close to selling out in its second print run.

‘Alpacas and Us’ was produced by the Heighington Women’s Institution and features around 18 members posing topless with strategically-placed alpacas.

The calendar was put together as part of a series of events and activities to celebrate the centenary of the Heighington WI – one of the oldest branches of the Women’s Institute in the region.

Ladies of the WI decided to combine commemoration with fundraising to create and sell the calendar while donating the proceeds to the MRI Scanner appeal for Darlington and Bishop Auckland hospitals.

Within days of the calendars being printed, members were astonished to find the first round had sold out completely.

In response to the demand, Heighington WI have now decided to increase their fundraising goal from £1,000 to £2,000.

Karin Allison, chair of the Heighington WI, said: “We were absolutely stunned at the speed with which the first run sold.

“We collected our second print run of the calendars and those are selling well. Of 200 calendars we have about 80 left.

“We have increased our target from £1,000 and are now hoping to raise £2,000 for the MRI scanner appeal.

"Anything to help us sell them is greatly appreciated.”

The idea for the calendar began after the WI were visited by Carole Burn, who runs Prince Bishops Alpacas in Headlam, Darlington.

After much enthusiasm following the talk, the ladies, aged between 50 and 80, spend several days at the alpaca farm posing for the shoot.

The photographs were taken by a sister of the WI, Shelly Newnham.

Each month of the calendar features a different theme in keeping with the time of year, including an afternoon tea themed photograph, a summer holiday, and a Christmas shot for December.

September’s photograph features the women holding a banner to mark their 100-year centenary celebrations.

All the money raised from calendar sales will be donated to the Darlington and Bishop Auckland MRI Scanner Appeal, who are aiming to raise £2.5m to purchase two new scanners.

The calendars can be purchased at a minimum of £5 through Mrs Allison and the WI by emailing stuart.allison2@btinternet.com or calling 01325 307 040