Stonehaven man helps launch campaign

Ben Newell

Ben Newell

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A Stonehaven man featured at the launch of the Decembeard 2015 campaign in London on September 24.

Beating Bowel Cancer’s Decembeard fundraising campaign asks men to stop shaving and go grizzly for the month of December to raise funds to support those affected by bowel cancer, which is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer.

Ben Newell, 32, who now lives in London, featured in the My, My Beard and Why photographic exhibition, which was unveiled at the event. The special exhibition by award-winning street photographer, GarconJon, tells the story of brave, bearded individuals who have been affected by bowel cancer and who are supporting the campaign in aid of the charity Beating Bowel Cancer.

Ben, who regularly volunteers for the charity, joined other Decembeard ambassadors, cancer patients, media, bearded models and celebrities at the launch, which took place in London’s Covent Garden.

Ben, an ex-pupil of Mackie Academy, has a very personal reason to support the campaign, as his mother, Susan Newell, sadly died of bowel cancer, aged just 64. Although obviously devastating, it has also had a positive effect on his life. He said that he takes more chances and lives life to the full now.

“My mum came home to be surrounded by her family before she died. Following the passing of my mum I decided to return home to Scotland to keep my father company and we embarked on a number of adventures together. It was a sad time but mum would have wanted us to get on with our lives.”

Each year more than 41,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer, but if caught early, more than 90% of cases can be treated successfully.

Ben says about the Decembeard campaign: “I heard about it from staff at Beating Bowel Cancer. It’s about helping to raise awareness and I’ve always had a beard anyway. Any excuse to help, if they want me to do a topless photoshoot I’d do it! Stuff like this affects people and it’s our job to make a difference.”

“If someone asked if they should get involved with Decembeard, I would certainly encourage them. You can help by getting work mates or your pals in a team and you can have fun and raise money together. Just grow a beard, it might even do wonders for your love life.”

For more information about Decembeard or to sign up, go to www.decembeard.org. You can also check out the campaign @Decembeard_UK #decembeard.

The funds raised will go to Beating Bowel Cancer. The charity relies entirely on voluntary donations and by raising funds through Decembeard, men can help fund a range of vital services that give people with bowel cancer help, hope and reassurance.

For more information about bowel cancer, visit www.beatingbowelcancer.org.