Movember inspires new look

Grow a mo . . . Oamaru artist Matthew Wicks has parted with his beloved beard to raise money for Movember this month. PHOTO: NIC DUFF

November is upon us, and with the last month of spring comes an array of men sprouting throwback facial hair for a good cause.

Movember has become a tradition as people grow moustaches throughout the month of November to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer or mental illness.

Oamaru artist Matthew ‘Wicksey’ Wicks has shaved off his trademark beard and will be growing a moustache throughout the month to raise money for the cause.

He had been asked multiple times to get involved in the fundraiser and had decided this was the year to do it.

‘‘I loved the cause, it’s a fantastic thing, but I was always a wee bit nervous about parting with the beard, because we’ve been together for a long time.

‘‘I’ve had friends and that, that have been affected personally by cancer and mental health issues, so it really hit home for me this year that I wanted to do something.’’

It would be a new experience for him to be clean-shaven, he said.

‘‘In the eight years that my wife and I have been together, there’s been maybe two instances where I’ve shaved my beard off and it’s been by accident, because I’ve gone to trim it and it’s just gone haywire and I end up taking the whole thing off.’’

He hoped he could inspire men to speak up about the issues they faced before it was too late.

‘‘We just need to learn to talk, and that’s a really hard thing for a lot of guys to do.

‘‘I’ve seen people being personally affected by physical and mental health issues and it was a matter of almost being too late. You know it was the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, rather than solving the problem at the top.’’

If Mr Wicks was able to reach his $1500 goal, he would choose a donor at random to receive a free mural painting.

This was a way of using his expertise to help out a great cause, he said.

‘‘I’m not a marathon runner. I’m not going to run the length of New Zealand for Movember, and if people can, then more power to them, that’s awesome. But, I wanted to do something that can brighten up the community or brighten up someone’s day.’’

He planned to have a bit of fun with growing his moustache as well.

‘‘I think I will go a bit ’80s to start with, maybe some mutton chops and a handlebar, and then as the month progresses I’ll just shave it down into just a basic moustache.

‘‘We’ll see what I can get away with.’’

People could donate to Mr Wicks’ Movember cause at