A PANTOMIME dame, an oysterman and a sports scientist have been headhunted to take part in a calendar shoot.

The calendar is part of the This is Essex campaign, launched by tourism promoter Visit Essex.

This is Essex aims to challenge the county’s stereotypes by showcasing Essex’s real stars, stunning landscapes and hidden gems.

Following a call for talent town crier, James Cole, from Harwich, has been chosen to star in the calendar.

He was selected thanks to his long service as a town crier and for his work championing the town of Harwich.

Antony Stuart-Hicks, the Mercury Theatre’s long-serving pantomime dame, Tom Haward, ‘eighth generation’ oysterman and Dr Mike Rogerson, sports scientist at Essex University have also been chosen to star in the new calendar.

The three were photographed separately at Colchester Castle, Essex University and oyster fishing on Mersea Island.

Mark Durham, vice chairman of Visit Essex, said: “We were flooded with nominations by the people of Essex to take part in this campaign.

“The calendar is just the start and we are actively working to provide a role for each nominee.

“Antony, Tom and Dr Mike are fine examples of the hardworking talent we have in our county.”

He added: “We’re all aware of the Essex stereotype and it’s time we made a difference.

“We need people to take a second look at our diverse county.

“Essex is blessed with over 350 miles of coastline, top family attractions, thriving towns and villages, plus excellent universities.

“The people are pretty extraordinary too, we have so much to offer.”

The This is Essex campaign is focused on bringing visitors from London and the rest of the home counties to the region by challenging perceptions of Essex as a place to visit, work, live and invest.

Images from the campaign will also be featured in a pop-up gallery which is expected to tour the county and be officially unveiled in London on October 11.

A promotional film will also follow.

Bestselling author, Martina Cole, British rally driving ace, Nabila Tejpar and Michelin-starred chefs, the Galvin Brothers also feature in the calendar.

Martina Cole is proud to be from Essex.

She said: “Essex is my favourite stomping ground and spiritual home.

“I love the people, the history and most of all the many entrepreneurial and highly successful women of the county.

“The Essex stereotype is an untrue, outdated myth and needs to be banned.”

Other ambassadors include artist and activist Elsa James, Team GB Paralympian Anne Wafula Strike MBE, community hero and graffiti artist Scott Irving, founder of West Street Vineyard Jane Mohan, Clacton lifeboatman Brogan Bates, glass artist Mona Marnell and author Gillian Darley.

Images from the campaign will also feature in a pop-up gallery which will be officially unveiled in London on 11 October.

A promotional film will also follow.

This is Essex is looking to expand its bank of ambassadors, so if you have a connection to the county and are the leader in your field, or a community hero, email hilary@wearebigwavepr.co.uk.

To find out more information about Visit Essex, see visitessex.com.