New year, new look as Santa gets his beard shaved

PUBLISHED: 08:34 02 January 2019

Les Handley says farewell to his Santa beard in aid of Carers in Hertfordshire with some help from Stevenage mayor Margaret Notley. Picture: Carers in Hertfordshire

Les Handley says farewell to his Santa beard in aid of Carers in Hertfordshire with some help from Stevenage mayor Margaret Notley. Picture: Carers in Hertfordshire

Archant

A delivery driver has said farewell to his Santa beard in a sponsored shave to support Carers in Hertfordshire with its work identifying unpaid carers and providing advice and services for them.

Les with his new look and, clockwise, friend Charmaine Terry, Carers in Hertfordshire chair Slava Budin-Jones, Stevenage mayoress Laurie Chester and Stevenage mayor Margaret Notley. Picture: Carers in HertfordshireLes with his new look and, clockwise, friend Charmaine Terry, Carers in Hertfordshire chair Slava Budin-Jones, Stevenage mayoress Laurie Chester and Stevenage mayor Margaret Notley. Picture: Carers in Hertfordshire

Les Handley, from Stevenage, has grown his beard since August 2017 to play the role of Father Christmas at local fundraising and community events – something he has done for five years.

But before saying goodbye to 2018 he decided to do away with his facial hair and have a trim on top too – and all to raise money for the charity.

Stevenage mayor Margaret Notley, who is supporting Carers in Hertfordshire as one of her chosen charities, started the shave before mobile hairdresser Lisa Wooster finished the job – kindly donating her services for free.

Les, who has three sons and eight grandchildren, explained that he decided to support Carers in Hertfordshire after learning about the charity from his friends Charmaine Terry and Chrissy Gale, who have been supporters for a few years and have helped fundraise by holding teddy tombolas and a couple of Christmas markets.

Les said: “I know there are many people in Hertfordshire caring for a partner, relative or friend as they are ill, disabled or elderly, and having the support of a charity like Carers in Hertfordshire makes such a positive difference to them.

“It is somewhere to turn to for free advice, information and a chance to connect with other carers and I’m pleased to do a little bit to help and would like to thank everyone who has sponsored me.”

So far Les has raised around £150 from the sponsored shave.

About losing his bushy beard, he added: “It has been great to grow the beard. I will miss it, but it will be back soon for raising more money next year. A big thank you to Lisa for doing the shave.”

Tim Napper, finance and support services manager at Carers in Hertfordshire, said: “We appreciate the support of people in our community such as Les, Lisa and the Stevenage mayor for helping us raise funds and awareness for our work identifying and providing services for unpaid carers.”

If you want to make a donation, organise your own fundraiser or a caring for someone unpaid in Hertfordshire or elsewhere if you live in the county please call 01992 586969 or email contact@carersinherts.org.uk.

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