A SUBMARINER is set to lose his beard for the first time in 30 years as part of an Anzac Day charity fund- raiser at Holbrook.
Chief Petty Officer Mike Bell will be in town — home of the HMAS Otway memorial submarine — on April 25 with some sea- going colleagues.
He has been inspired to help an organisation aimed at protecting children from strangers and sexual abuse.
“I’m shaving it off in Holbrook on Anzac Day to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of submarines in Australia and to raise money for Project KidSafe,” Chief Petty Officer Bell said.
“I pledge that if we can raise $5000 or more, I will shave it off.
“If we don’t raise $5000 or more I will trim it back to a ‘be nice, be neat, be Navy cut’.”
Chief Petty Officer Bell is based at the HMAS Stirling base in Western Australia and will travel with other sailors to Holbrook.
The father of two joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1977.
“Somewhere between volunteering for submarine duty and being sent over to the UK for training, I decided to grow a beard,” he said.
“A lot of submariners seemed to wear beards and it became obvious why later.
“When on submarines at sea, there are two things that are precious, time and water.
“Not having to shave helped immensely.”
Chief Petty Officer Bell has usually kept his beard closely trimmed as part of Navy regulations aimed at ensuring it does not pose a workplace hazard, but has been allowed to grow it long to encourage interest in his fund-raising.
He’s hoping for a better reaction from his wife to his clean chin than his last attempt at facial hair removal.
Years ago while home on leave in Gumeracha in South Australia he chose to have a trim and botched it completely.
“I proceeded to shave off what was left with my wife’s leg razor and went out to the kitchen to see her reaction as I hadn’t told her I was doing it,” he said.
“She was washing up and screamed in fright — this set our two German shepherds off.”
To donate go to the website www.givenow.com.au/projectkidsafe and select “one-off donation”, then choose “select amount” then hit “continue” and enter donor details and under “optional information” select “special message other” and enter “Shave Dinga’s beard”.