A department store stock controller is all set for a close shave as he aims to raise money for a cancer charity – inspired by the memory of his late mum and dad.
John Breeze, 33, of Johnstown, who works at Marks and Spencer at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre in Wrexham is having his beard shaved off and his legs waxed as part of the store’s fundraising exploits for Macmillan Cancer Support.
He said: “I lost my dad, Colin, to cancer last year and my mum, who also suffered from cancer, died this year – although her death wasn’t due to the disease. I just want to do something in their memory really.
“I’d heard of the Macmillan Brave the Shave campaign but seeing as I’m follicly challenged, as least so far as head hair goes, I thought I’d go for the beard shave and legs wax instead.
“I’ve had a beard since I was about 18 so it’s going to be strange being clean shaven.
John and the rest of the team at the popular store set themselves a challenge of raising £5,000 during September for the cancer charity.
According to the store manager, Deborah Hitchen, they are well on the way to smashing their target.
She said: “Everyone in the store and all departments took the fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support to heart.
“Some staff got together to run a sale at the weekly Bryn y Grog Car Boot Sale event. They have been given the pitch for free by the organiser, which is fantastic, and have sold unwanted items donated by all our staff.
“Emma Phillips, who works in our home wear department, has been the driving force but lots of other staff helped too.
“We have also been doing bag packing for donations in our food hall and riding an exercise bike at the front of the store while inviting donations of loose change.
“We have also had a really good quality telescope donated which we are going to raffle off or sell by secret auction. I’m so pleased with the response of all staff from all departments who have really got behind the fundraising campaign.
“And for John to agree to have his beard shaved off, which I understand he has had for a long, long time and have his legs waxed is fantastic.
“Emma Phillips has organised someone to do the shaving and waxing and we are going to do the shaving at the front of the store at noon on Saturday, October 1. There will be a collection bucket on hand for donations.
“We are hoping the money raised by John will see us past our £5,000 target. Our customers have been so incredibly generous and kind and we need to thank them for helping us achieve what we have.”
M&S beautician, Jodie Saxton, 23, of Wrexham, helped out at the weekly car boot sales as well as taking turns to ride the exercise bike.
She said: “It’s been a real team effort. I’ve ridden the exercise bike for an hour at a time and the public have been so generous. People haven’t just been throwing the odd coin in we have had bank notes too which is incredibly kind.
“I’ve also been helping out at the Sunday car boot sales organised by Emma Phillips. Again the response has been wonderful and we have raised far more than we thought we ever would.”
She added: “John is very brave having his beard shaved off and his legs waxed. It’s a great effort and will help us over the finishing line and past the £5,000 barrier.”
Women’s wear assistant Becky Evans, 25, of Wrexham agreed adding: “It’s been a real team effort and everyone has done so well.
“Emma Phillips has been a legend she even made soup and jacket potatoes which she brought in so staff could have them for lunch for a small donation.
“I’ve helped on bag packing in the food hall in my spare time and I have to say everyone has been so generous.”
Food hall assistant Sarah Davies, 26, of Wrexham has also been helping to raise funds by bag-packing and is also planning on a session on the exercise bike before the week is out.
She said: “It’s been really good team work and everyone has got behind the fundraising for what is a really great cause.
“I think John is incredible having his beard shaved off and his legs waxed. It really has been a fantastic team effort and to raise £5,000 in a month is incredible.”
Eagles Meadow centre manager Kevin Critchley has wished the M&S team well with their fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support.
He said: “The M&S team has done an incredible job and to raise more than £5,000 in a month is an incredible achievement.
“It never ceases to amaze me the sheer volume of fundraising activities staff of our stores, restaurants and leisure complexes get up to and for so many different charities.”
He added: “Well done to the whole of Deborah Hitchen’s team and good luck to John Breeze – having his beard shaved off is one thing but having his legs waxed? That really is another matter!”
To support John Breeze and the M&S team’s fundraising for Macmillan go along to the M&S store in Eagles Meadow for noon on Saturday (October 1).