Members of the London Southend Airport Fire Service are raising money for charity by growing moustaches this November.
Money will go towards the annual Movember event, which invites people to grow a moustache in order to raise awareness of men’s mental health issues, such as testicular cancer, prostate cancer and men’s suicide.
Joe Ferrer, who has worked at the airport for three years, said he thought it would be a “good idea” to take part as “a lot of the guys will usually grow moustaches around November, and we’re trying to get everyone to start living a healthier life and talk about their mental health.
“That’s why we’re doing this – it’s a bit of fun but it’s also to try and make a difference.”
He added: “I’ve always donated to charities, but I’ve never got involved in doing something myself. And if this works well, we’ll try and do it every year.”
According to Joe, there’s some healthy competition between the different watches, and he’ll be keeping track of the department’s moustache progress with before and after pictures.
He said: “We’re trying to grow them as big as we can… and see who looks the silliest.”
Participants in Movember are encouraged to start the month clean-shaven, before ‘carefully crafting’ their Mo over the following four weeks.
The fun initiative acts as a way of opening the door on conversations around men’s mental health, particularly as November includes International Men’s Day on Saturday, November 19.
Joe said: “I think it’s something like one in eight people that suffer with mental health don’t seek treatment, and that’s a really low number. So, I hope by doing this and getting a conversation started that it helps people – that’s the main thing.”
The team have raised more than £250 so far, which is halfway towards their target of £500.