Sunderland dentist turned photographer produces stunning calendar for the Foundation of Light - here's how to get one

A city dentist-turned-photographer has produced a calendar of stunning wildlife images to raise funds for the Foundation of Light.

Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 4:55 am
Michael Oliver has produced a wildlife calendar for charity

From a grizzly bear feasting on salmon in a river in British Columbia to puffins in the Farne Islands and even a Polar Bear in the Arctic snow, Michael has been lucky enough to experience some incredible nature scenes up close.

Now, some of his best shots feature in a 2022 calendar which is raising funds for the Foundation of Light to help its community work, which helps change lives across Sunderland.

Michael is well-known in the city after more than 30 years as a dentist, with his former practice in East Herrington still bearing his name as Oliver’s House.

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Michael's stunning shot of a polar bear in the Arctic

He’s long had a passion for photography, but after hanging up his drill three years ago it gave him the chance to travel more frequently, capturing some awe-inspiring scenes along the way.

Speaking about the calendar project, he said: “I’ve been a voluntary ambassador for the foundation for a while and was looking for something further I could do to help.

"I’ve done a lot of photography and over the years have accumulated a lot of images on my hard drive, so I decided to put them to good use.”

Michael did an informal poll on his Facebook page, asking for people’s favourite of his wildlife shots, and the result is a striking calendar of shots which tally with the seasons.

Michael Oliver with his charity calendar

He approached Precision Printing at the BIC who, also supporters of the foundation’s work, offered to print the A3 calendar on high quality paper at cost price, meaning more money will go directly to the charity.

Michael is taking no profit from the calendar, and says it’s fantastic to see the charity’s work first hand.

"I think a sizeable amount of people drive past the big white box next to the Stadium of Light and don’t realise the fantastic work that goes on in there,” he said.

"The Beacon of Light is a wonderful building offering sports, educational, mental health facilities and more, it offers a whole range of services to the community.

A puffin in the Farne Islands

"Sometimes when you donate to a charity you’re not sure where the money goes. But I’ve worked closely with the foundation and you can see directly how that money helps the local community."

The foundation recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with a gala dinner at its home at the Beacon of Light, which was attended by HRH Countess of Wessex, Sir Tim Rice and Emeli Sande.

Sir Tim has written the forward to Michael’s calendar, which was presented to the Countess on her recent visit to the city.

Michael said: “The countess is a great supporter of the foundation and was presented with one of my calendars on her visit. I’ve been told that she said it would be nice for kitchen wall, which is fantastic to think it’s in her home.”

Michael has travelled the world photographing wildlife

::Michael Oliver’s wildlife calendar is available to buy direct from the Beacon of Light, priced £19.95, or online from

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People voted for their favourite shots on Michael's Facebook page
Walrus in the wild