Gary becomes a bearded wonder

The Bolton News: Gary Brownlow and Bolton Hospice community fundraising assistant Helen Cannell Gary Brownlow and Bolton Hospice community fundraising assistant Helen Cannell

GARY Brownlow has spent the past three months growing a beard to raise money for charity — and has nearly tripled his fundraising target.

The father of two ditched the razor in aid of Decembeard, a fundraising campaign similar to Movember aimed at raising awareness of bowel cancer.

Mr Brownlow, aged 39, of Westhoughton, is manager of the chief executive’s department at Bolton Council.

Initially, he had hoped to raise about £250 for Decembeard, but has so far raised £700.

The money will go to Bolton Hospice and Bolton Wanderers Comm-unity Trust — Mr Brownlow is a passionate Wanderers fan, and has worked at the club as a steward for 20 years.

He said: “Cancer is a horrendous thing for people to go through, particularly families. I’ll do whatever I can to make more people aware of it. Even if my idea makes a little bit of difference, then so be it. I feel obliged to help.”

Mr Brownlow added special praise for Bolton Hospice, who provide care for people facing life-limiting illnesses.

He said: “Bolton Hospice is absolutely fabulous. They have to raise £2 million a year, which is a huge amount of money. We are lucky that we have got a hospice which helps so many people. Movember’s a fantastic thing and it’s known worldwide. If Decembeard catches on and people become more aware, the impact this would be fantastic for the hospice and fantastic for the children and families they support.”

While only too happy to get hairy for a good cause, Mr Brownlow admitted he is looking forward to being clean-shaven again.

He said: “It’s been quite an experience. People think growing a beard is simple, but it’s not. It’s very prickly and my wife and two girls are not very keen on it.”

Mr Brownlow’s wife Pam, a civil servant, aged 44, is itching to see his full face again! She said: “I’m extremely proud of him, it’s a wonderful thing that he’s doing. I’m definitely looking forward to getting his face back.”

Helen Cannell, fundraising assistant at Bolton Hospice, said: “We are very grateful to Gary and his colleagues for all of their support this year. Gary’s donation will be a fantastic contribution to our yearly running costs of more than £3 million.

“As a charity we need to raise the first £2.5 million of this ourselves and we truly could not do this without the support of the local community and people like Gary.”

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