Up until a few days ago Gordon Russell was a fully paid up member of the facial fuzz club.
For nearly three years he had carefully groomed his pride and joy – and he was delighted it was such a regular talking point among friends and colleagues.
Repeated calls to “get rid of it” were rebuked with a smile and stubborn determination the beard had a long way to go in the growing stakes ...
But that all changed last week when the big-hearted travel agent finally agreed to part company with the impressive growth of hair he had painstakingly nurtured to cover his chin and cheeks for all those months.
But his big loss equals a big gain for a local good cause – because Gordon only agreed to face the clippers and razor after his friends all agreed to donate to Strathcarron Hospice if he shaved it off.
After the event in the Falkirk High Street branch of Barrhead Travel where he works, Gordon (38) said: “I was sorry to see the beard go because I really was quite proud of it.
“It went from a modest stubble about two-and-a-half years ago to something full of body and character.
“Of course my friends used to joke about what might be ‘living’ inside it, and colleagues at work were always asking when I was going to get round to shaving it off.
“They said it would make me look years younger, but I just laughed it all off.
“It was a labour of love. Not too many people can grow the perfect beard and I suppose I became a bit stubborn about it.
“However, I’ve raised some money by running quite a few of the 10k events organised by the hospice and decided by agreeing to lose the beard I could raise some more so went for it.
“Everybody was a bit surprised when I announced the plan, everyone’s been so generous a cold face is worth it.”
Gordon has raised more than £400 for the hospice so far, and readers can donate at www.justgiving.com.