A dad-of-two is braving the shave after two decades so he can play one of Cinderella’s ugly sisters in panto – oh yes he is!
Chris Watts, 41, of Clayton-le-Woods, hopes to raise as much money as possible for Derian House Children’s Hospice at the same time with his hair-raising challenge.
Chris, a security expert for healthcare software firm EMIS, has been maintaining his facial hair for more than 20 years and describes it as “his pride and joy”. His children have never even seen him without a beard.
“I’ve been doing panto for four years and I’ve always had roles where my beard fits – a king or an emperor,” said Chris.
“This year, the director asked how I would feel about being a dame. I knew this time my beard would not fit with the part. I would have to say goodbye. ‘Oh no you don’t!’ I hear you shout. Oh yes I do is the answer though. It isn’t going to be easy. I haven’t seen my face for 20 years!”
Chris will play one of the ugly sisters in Bolton Little Theatre’s production of Cinderella, running from Friday, 2 December until Sunday, 18 December.
“I’ve always said that if the beard has to go then we need to give it a good send off – and what better way than to raise some money for Derian House Children’s Hospice,” added Chris.
“The level of care they provide for families and the love that they give them is incredible. My wife Morna volunteers at Derian House too, so I hear a lot about the fantastic work the charity does.
“I have no idea how I’ll feel when I shave the beard off. I’m full of trepidation. But I have to do it – to tread the boards as an ugly sister and to raise money for an amazing charity.”
Kerry Pritchard, Community Fundraiser at Derian House, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Chris for supporting Derian with his big panto shave – we’re looking forward to seeing him in his gown!
“Care is free for families, but it costs £5.7million to run services at Derian House. We couldn’t do what we do without the dedication of our supporters, like Chris, who do wacky things raise money for our 450 children and their families.”
Chris hopes to raise £1,000 for Derian House. You can help him reach his target by donating on his JustGiving page.