By the time Christmas comes around again, Scotch Street man Paul Whittle should have raised lots of money and perhaps even found a new means of employment!
The local businessman has pledged not to shave for the entire calendar year of 2015 as he tries to raise money for the fight against diabetes, a condition which has affected his daughter Beth since she turned eight years old a decade ago.
The best part of a month and a half later after starting he’s already sporting an inch-long facial growth and you can imagine that come the festive season, with a bit of dye he could be appearing at a Santa’s Grotto near you in December 2015!
“I actually started this about October time and having grown a bit of a beard in the past I knew there was a real itchy period between four to six weeks,” he said. “I reckoned that if I could get through that itchy stage I would go and grow it for a year.
“I got over that stage around Christmas and that was when I told everyone what I was going to do.
“My daughter Beth has had diabetes for 10 years and I thought that if my friends would spend even £2 a month sponsoring me for the entire year, then we would have raised a lot of money. Some very generous people have given me more than that and already we have £850 gathered up. It’s going really well.”
Paul, who runs Whittle Car Services on the Moy Road, says his wife Sandra is content enough with the new look, but there are some conditions.
The 50-year-old recently dyed some grey patches in the beard and it will be “tidied up” before they attend the wedding of his nephew, Dwaine Smyth of the Meat Cleaver and The Elk and Clipper, in April.
“ Sandra has insisted that I have a bit of a tidy-up for Dwaine’s wedding in April, but that’s it,” he continued.
“It’s going to be tough. If you look at it now after five weeks it’s already grown an inch long in places. I will get a job by Christmas time if I’m able to dye it white.
“This is the 10-year anniversary of Bethany being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and I wanted to do something special to mark it.
“Especially in America they are doing lots of research and are very close to finding things that will help a lot of people.
“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.”
To donate to Paul and his diabetes fight go to his Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/Paul-Whittle4/