Revered beard sheared for Decembeard, then reappeared. Weird.
It's next year already and, as you may be aware, last year ended with a spot of beardy-weirdness (see title). It all started with Bekky and I having a chat about "Decembeard" after supper on the eve of December. I was lamenting the fact that, while a handful of my marvellous Batcheller Monkhouse colleagues were participating in Decembeard in a show of support for yours sincerely, I wouldn't be able to join in the fun as I already had a beard. My wife promptly declared me an idiot and suggested I shave it off then re-grow it during December. We agreed this to be a capital idea, and that £500 would be a sensible target to aim for.
So on the morning of 1st December, I took the slightly unusual step of commandeering Bekky's leg razor and set about removing a beard that had been a permanent resident on my face for nearly nine years. How was it? Odd, mostly, and cold. Noticeably cold in the area recently deserted by the beard. But otherwise unremarkable. Aside from the fact that Bekky said that without a beard, I resembled an alien - bald head, at least two eyes and a pointy chin. Thank you, darling.
I signed up as a Decembeardo (my word, not theirs), created a JustGiving page, posted a photo, and settled back, hoping that with a little luck and a following wind, we might just get to the £500 mark by the end of the month. On day one, people generously donated £265 - we were off to a good start. The £500 mark had been dispatched by day four and a day later, we'd hit £1,000. By half way through the month, we had more than quadrupled my original target.
As is customary for facial hair, the beard grew steadily over the month. Others run marathons, skydive, do triathlons or bungee jumps to raise money for worthy causes. My exertions went as far as posting the occasional exciting update ("Look, my beard has grown a bit!") and..well...that was about it. I simply allowed keratin to do its thing while watching the donations roll in.
And this brings me to the point of this post. People are absurdly generous. Eye-wateringly so. As I write, the total amount donated stands at £4,400.79. Four thousand, four hundred pounds and seventy nine pence. Sheesh. I mean...seriously. I am utterly, completely blown away. And I am so, so grateful to everyone that donated. You are all wonderful and I love you.
The money raised goes to Beating Bowel Cancer, a fabulous charity that is dedicated to supporting everyone affected by bowel cancer. This year, they are joining forces with the other big British bowel cancer charity, Bowel Cancer UK, to become a single entity with the mission of ensuring that, by 2050, no one dies of bowel cancer. Amazing.
Oh, and take a look at this...
This is the Decembeard Leaderboard, as at 1st January. Your extreme generosity means that together YOU have helped to raise the second highest amount out of all those supporting the 2,077 people who participated. And I've done my research - the chap who came first is a trustee of Beating Bowel Cancer, so he was always a strong contender for first place. Well done, John Collard.
And you remember that I said a handful of my marvellous Batcheller Monkhouse colleagues were participating in Decembeard in a show of support for yours sincerely? Well...one of them, Tom Bodley Scott, finished in 6th place; another, Matthew Braxton, was 15th and as a team, Batcheller Monkhouse raised more than any other team. We finished first as a team! I know it's not a competition but WHAT AN ACHIEVEMENT! It leaves me deliriously proud and happy, not to mention humbled.
Thank you, beardy colleagues, for taking part in this shenanigan, and I hope you weren't hit by any scathing beardist comments over the festive period. And thank you, lunatically generous friends, acquaintances and strangers, for being so lunatically generous. Your kindness will go a long, long way towards helping my fellow bowel cancer sufferers, I will rest easier at night knowing that I have done something to help, and you lot deserve a ruddy great pat on the back for being so wonderful.
Some of you may have been hoping for some cancer news in this post - I'm afraid you'll have to wait until a bit later in the week for that. Suffice to say, and without wishing to leave you on a cliff-hanger, the news we received before Christmas was about as good as we could have hoped. Not perfect, but not bad either. More soon... x