At the beginning of this year, Paul Whittle decided to grow a beard - and he hasn’t lifted scissors to it since!
The Scotch Street man pledged not to shave his beard for an entire year, in the hope of raising funds for diabetes research. Since he set the razor down, Paul has collected over £5,500 for the charity Diabetes UK - and he still has six months to grow!
“I couldn’t have imagined it,” shares Paul, who runs Whittle’s Car Services on the Moy Road. “We’re only about £300 off the £6,000 mark now - everybody has been marvellous.”
Paul’s daughter, Beth, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 10 years ago and it was this that spurred him on to fund research into diabetes - a condition which, Paul feels, is often ignored when it comes to fundraising.
“It’s only when I’ve done research myself that I’ve realised how many people actually have diabetes - and there are so many more who don’t even realise they have it,” Paul explains. “It’s been amazing the amount of people coming forward to sponsor me, whose family members have been impacted by diabetes.
“A lot of them are surprised, as they’re not used to seeing people fundraise for this cause.”
Paul’s campaign has certainly been creative - he even dyed it pink for a month - and news of his hairy venture has travelled fast. He has been overwhelmed by the generosity of the local community:
“I had a phone call from the Jethro Centre recently, telling me to call in to pick up a cheque. When I got there, they handed me a cheque for £800!”
Mullabrack Bowling Club donated £200 to Paul’s efforts last week, encouraging him to raise the bar a little:
“Now that I’ve reached £5,000, I want to try to make it £10,000.”
Diabetes UK is the UK’s leading diabetes charity and largest charitable funder of diabetes research. If you would like to help Paul reach £10,000 - and ensure that vital support can be given to those living with diabetes - visit www.justgiving.com/Paul-Whittle4