OFF IT GOES: Tom Byrne prepares to face the World's Greatest Shave with Indy Littlemore.
OFF IT GOES: Tom Byrne prepares to face the World's Greatest Shave with Indy Littlemore. Lachlan McIvor

'Merlin' lops locks for leukaemia sufferers

TOM Byrne went into The Old Britannia pub on Friday afternoon looking like Merlin the magician and left ready to take on the leading role in The King and I.

The 69-year-old grew out his hair and beard for the Esk Community Choir's medieval theatre restaurant production A Knight to Remember, held in Toogoolawah and Gatton earlier this month.

Since he took on the new look to play Merlin for the shows, he admits he has received his fair share of ribbing.

He has kept his beard short and tidy since he got out of uniform, but let it go over the past six months and hadn't had a haircut for more than a year.

Mr Byrne decided to take part in the World's Greatest Shave last week to raise funds for the Leukaemia Foundation while losing the long hair.

"I thought if it's coming off, I'll do something with it,” Mr Byrne said.

"I won't miss it.

"Leukaemia is a prevalent disease in our community and it's just good to be able raise funds.

"I've had some tremendous support from people in the choir.”

When all was said and done, just under $900 was raised with more donations still flowing in and $120 alone went towards making sure his eyebrows were shaved too.

"Someone said we're going to have to do The King and I and you can be the king with no hair,” he laughed.


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