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Merb'ys big splash turns into large cash donation

What started out as a small bit of fun for a few bearded fellows in St. John's turned into a giant amount of money donated to a good cause.

Spirit Horse N.L., a group that enhances life skills through interaction with horses, receives $300,000

The models and volunteers from the Merb'ys Calendar pose with the cheque they donated to charity. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

What started out as a small bit of fun for a few bearded fellows in St. John's turned into a giant amount of money donated to a good cause after a creative calendar garnered world-wide attention. 

Last year, members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club posed as Merb'ys — a bearded, male answer to the mermaid — for a fundraising calendar.

It was an international hit, and the Beard and Moustache Club donated $300,466.53 to worthy cause Spirit Horse N.L. on Saturday afternoon at the Delta Hotel in St. John's.

The Merb'y calendar made headlines all over the world with more than 14,000 copies being sold in 40 different countries. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Spirit Horse N.L. is a group created by Erin Gallant with the aim of enhancing the mental health and life skills of people through therapeutic interaction with horses.

"It's incredibly rewarding," said Hasan Hai, otherwise known as Mr. January and the man who helped create the Merb'ys.

"The dollar amount is significant and we know that we made a significant difference, not just in the lives of Erin, but in everyone she'll help through Spirit Horse."

Hasan Hai — Mr. January. (Via: Facebook; Photo Credit: Andrea Edwards)

"My reaction was complete shock," Gallant said.

"I still haven't processed what I am going to do with it. I know it's going to help a lot of people for a very long time to access our services."

Erin Gallant never imagined Spirit Horse would receive $300,466.53. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Hai said work has already begun with next year's Merb'ys calendar, one he hopes will feature models and scenes from all over Newfoundland and Labrador. 

You can watch more of the donation event in the video below.

Spirit Horse N.L. benefits from unique fundraiser 2:07