Facing your fears: Alan Gilbertson’s Naked Appeal will help to convince food companies to deliver excess food for the young, elderly, sick and helpless. *Photos by Sirkka Huish
Facing your fears: Alan Gilbertson’s Naked Appeal will help to convince food companies to deliver excess food for the young, elderly, sick and helpless. *Photos by Sirkka Huish
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Alan Gilbertson is a self-confessed middle-aged prude who prefers to keep his shirt on even when he is on the beach.

The 49-year-old doesn't see himself as much of a stud muffin and for that very reason is keen to keep his "pale and flabby" body hidden under his clothes.

That was until a self-conscious Alan was persuaded to bare all on stage in The Full Monty every night until October 18. He has the singing and acting experience, but stripping off at City Hall fills him with "raw terror."

He admits he would have been quick to decline the "ridiculous" role had it not been for the unique opportunity to draw attention to his favourite charity.

The only way he can come to terms with "losing his inhibitions" is if he knows he is raising money for Feedback Food Distribution in the process.

Alan has set up his 'Naked Appeal' to raise money for the South African charity which focuses on food relief. Feedback aims to convince food producers, supermarkets and restaurants to donate excess food, most of which would be wasted. Trucks then collect and deliver this food to the young, elderly, sick and helpless.

The reasoning behind his fundraising 'full monty' is that at least people can "embarrass him for a great cause."

Alan said: "Taking my clothes off in public just isn't me, not in a million years.

"I really am the man who keeps his shirt on at the beach.

"I'm more than nervous, raw terror is the best way to describe how I'm feeling about being in The Full Monty.

"Knowing I'm helping others is the only way to help me lose my inhibitions. It helps me to focus on something else rather than my body!"

Alan, who used to head up Orbis, has featured in numerous musical, pantomimes and concerts, but this is his first G&S production.

Alan plays Harold Nicholas, one of the six unemployed guys who is inspired to 'go all the way' with their own stripping group in The Full Monty. He is the factory manager who is too scared to tell his devoted wife he has lost his job because he fears she will leave him.

Even though the musical started on Wednesday, Alan admits he is still terrified of the full-frontal bare-all finale.

He said: "Having stripped a few times now, I'm gaining a little more confidence, but it's still not easy forcing my hand to go up when it's supposed to!"

"If people are going to come to the show, be nice to me, look at someone else!"

The charity's website features Alan in his Full Monty costume taking off the relevant piece of clothing when his appeal reaches each milestone. The Monty Metre shows how much Alan has raised with people urged to 'increase the temperature to reduce Alan's clothing.'

Having topped the $1,000 mark, by raising about $1,100 so far, Alan has already taken off his tie and his jacket, and he's on the verge of showing some flesh very soon.

At $2,500 his belt comes off, then his shirt at $5,000, his trousers at $10,000 and last but by now means least, his boxers at $25,000.

For every dollar raised between now and October 18, Alan will match it on a one for one basis, up to $25,000.

He is hoping to go 'all the way' and 'blow the meter right off the top.' $25,000 raised would mean $50,000 for the charity and this would fund a staggering 750,000 meals in South Africa.

Alan and wife Carol have been supporters of Feedback Food Distribution for about nine years ago. Last year the charity redistributed enough food to provide an estimated 12.6 million meals, but it would like to expand and open projects in other needy cities.

Alan said there was a "far greater need" for food than him being self-conscious about his body. Every dollar raised will fund about 30 meals for hungry people.

He said: "We are always thinking of new ways to help fund Feedback and this seemed like a unique opportunity for the public to undress me!

"It's a light-hearted way to address a serious issue.

"The more people donate, the more clothes I'll take off! Will I do the full monty? There's only one way to find out."

Donations to Alan Gilbertson's 'Naked Appeal' can be made online using Visa or Mastercard. Visit www.feedback.org.za and click on 'Naked Appeal For Help.' For information on making a donation by bank transfer, contact Alan by email at alan@ibl.bm