Hair today, gone tomorrow; Phil bristles with pride after his parting retirement gift.
Byline: Laura Foad Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
WHEN most people retire they are usually presented with a parting gift from their workplace.
But one Marske grandad decided to put a different spin on saying goodbye.
Instead of receiving a farewell present from colleagues, Phil Darby opted to raise money by saying cheerio to his beard - which he has had for 40 years.
The 65-year-old, who celebrated his birthday on Sunday, has worked at the Leonard Cheshire-funded home Marske Hall for more than 14 years, and in that time has been a dedicated fundraiser. Keen to keep up this tradition, Phil was cheered on by staff, residents and his wife Carol, as Marske barber, Ron Chilver, shaved off his snow white facial hair.
Applause filled the hall as Phil admired his new look in the mirror.
He said: "It's very refreshing but I think I will only keep it off for a week.
"The whole experience has been brilliant and I just wanted to raise money for the hall.
"I am still going to keep volunteering and will also be involved with future fundraising so they have not quite got rid of me - they would have a job doing that," Wife Carol, who he met as a teenager when they both lived in the West Midlands, appeared pleased with her new, more youthful looking husband.
The 63-year-old said: "I think he looks so different.
"I wasn't happy with the idea at first because he has had the beard for so long, but now I think he looks really good and much younger. I will warm to it.
"We got married in 1972 and he didn't have a beard then but it was not too long after that he started to grow it.
"He looks after it well and I don't think it will be off for too long as it's too cold at the moment."
Service manager Karen Hutchinson added: "It is definitely a unique leaving present and not one we have done before.
"All the money he raises is going to the hall for the benefits of the residents.
"Phil came here as a part-time maintenance man and has volunteered ever since.
"He does a bit of everything and is a real jack of all trades. He is going to be a real miss and if I could bottle him up then I would, but it's time for him to enjoy a proper retirement."
A 'younger' looking Phil Darby after his charity shave
Barber Ron Chilver gets to work on Phil Darby's part-|ing gift for Marske Hall
190115BEARD KATIE LUNN