Gloucester's Ian Parks completes his Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) shave

Ian Parks returns to his former self after completing the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) shave. Photos supplied
Ian Parks returns to his former self after completing the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) shave. Photos supplied

Ian Parks is pretty thankful to the Gloucester community for not only supporting him to reach his fundraising target for cancer research, but for helping smash it out of the park.

He started with a goal of $2500 on February 1 and it looks like he'll end up with a $3500 donation for the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF).

It seemed like such a simple thing for him to do - allow his hair and beard to grow for six months.

But it wasn't long into the process that this normally clean shaven, crew-cut wearing man started to wonder about his decision.

He didn't have any doubts about raising funds - that choice was simple, he was doing for his daughter Karen, who died from cervical cancer in 2018 at age 42.

But as his hair started to grow and interfere in his daily routine, he wondered if perhaps walking from Perth to Newcastle would have been a better option.

"I didn't realise how it impacts on everyday things like zipping up my jacket. I'd look down and couldn't see past the beard," Ian laughed.

In the last month, he even struggled to fit his hair into his motorcycle helmet.

"I was never this hairy even in the 70s when it was fashionable," Ian joked. "I literally hated it. The night before the shave I couldn't sleep properly, I was so excited to get rid of it."

Paula Standen from Milady Salon prepares to shave away Ian's long locks and Santa beard. Photo supplied

Paula Standen from Milady Salon prepares to shave away Ian's long locks and Santa beard. Photo supplied

Finally, his dream came true on Monday July 12 - three weeks before his original date of August 1.

"I had gone past my target and I felt I deserved the relief."

Paula Standen from Milady Salon did the honours with a crowd of supporters cheering him from outside the shop.

"As soon as she started shaving the beard off, I could feel the cold." Ian smiled.

Although Ian has been light-hearted about the whole thing, it was a bitter-sweet experience. He found himself talking a lot about Karen when people asked why he was doing the fundraiser.

"I was constantly reminded of her - which is good, but retelling the story - it can be hard," he admitted.

Donations came in from many of her friends along with messages about her saying how much they missed her.

Ian was overwhelmed by the generosity from members of the community, many of whom knew Karen from the years she lived in town.

"Gloucester is a fabulous town - with all its support. That's why I love this town," Ian said.

Although Ian didn't make it the full time, he still intends to raffle off the quilt donated by the Gloucester Patchwork Group at the end of the month. Tickets are still for sale and can be purchased at I Need Coffee, 69 Church Street.