Balliol gets hairy for charity

A group of men in Balliol College are taking part in a moustache-growing competition to raise money for charity.

22 hardy souls, or Balliol ‘Mo-Bros,’ have joined a contest to see who can grow the best moustache during ‘Movember’ and many more are expected to sign up.

Movember is a worldwide, annual, month long event during which men grow moustaches to raise money and awareness for men’s health issues. The money donated in the UK goes to The Prostate Cancer Charity.

Matt Parsfield, a third-year English undergraduate, organised the Movember movement at Balliol. “I had the idea that a group of us at Balliol should participate in the scheme – this is the kind of thing that’s a lot more effective and amusing if there are a large number of people doing it, and we’ll all feel the benefit of the camaraderie, knowing that we all look like idiots rather than just one person.

“I had the idea when I was drunk in the bar and I stumbled around trying to persuade everyone to take part; thankfully most of the people I asked were as intoxicated as I was and agreed.”

Balliol JCR has been very supportive of the scheme, pledging £300 to The Prostate Cancer Charity on the condition that at least 20 people complete the challenge. Added to that, £100 has been set aside for the winner of the ‘best moustache’ competition to donate to a charity of his choice. The participants themselves are also raising money from sponsorship – at the moment Hector Page is leading the way with £135.

Page told Cherwell, “I think it’s a fun way to raise money for a good cause, not to mention I’m of the age and have the follicular prowess to need an excuse to experiment. I’m certain I can grow a moustache that is both a crippling hindrance to my social/sex life and a real money-spinner.”

Thomas Mason is also taking part. “While refuting that I look like a baby, I fully intend to look merely extremely dirty by the end of the month. I haven’t really thought of it as team effort to be honest, more a pact of individuals to each engage in their own battle against fashion, aesthetics, social conformity, and in my case nature.”

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Iain Large, JCR president, plans to join the Mo-Brotherhood, “I am fairly confident in my ability to grow the moustache (beards, by the way, have been strictly forbidden, as they look far too sensible)… Whether the men of Balliol will have the steadfastness to cultivate such a hideous hirsute disfigurement on their fair faces is another matter.”

Parsfield extends a challenge to other members of the university. “I think it would be great if people reading this article from other colleges decided to get a college team together – there’s nothing like a bit of inter-collegiate facial hair rivalry.” Large’s aims are perhaps even more ambitious, “The next stop on our recruitment drive? The Balliol fellowship…”