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Headshave for good cause

PUBLISHED: 14:31 04 May 2009 | UPDATED: 11:04 12 July 2010

The last time teacher Mike Copperwheat had his beard and head shaved for charity his daughter Alice burst into tears as soon as she saw him.

But that was 12 years ago, when she was only four!

Fast forward to 2009, and it was the Diss High School student's own idea that her father - a teacher at the school - should swop his familiar hairy look for a clean-shaven chin and pate to raise money for a partnership project in Sri Lanka.

THE last time teacher Mike Copperwheat had his beard and head shaved for charity his daughter Alice burst into tears as soon as she saw him.

But that was 12 years ago, when she was only four!

Fast forward to 2009, and it was the Diss High School student's own idea that her father - a teacher at the school - should swop his familiar hairy look for a clean-shaven chin and pate to raise money for a partnership project in Sri Lanka.

"I've always had a beard and I got quite a good reaction when I walked in the pub last night. I thought there could be a problem with my bald head," quipped Mr Copperwheat, 57, who has been told he now looks 10 years younger.

"I am head of citizenship at the school, and head of year eight and they all came and watched. It was a bit like stoning in ancient times, it was a hushed as they waited in the school library for the first piece of hair to fall. As I walked off they started calling for the beard. There was a lot of chanting for eyebrows too, but I resisted that," he said.

"It was organised by my daughter, who thought it would be a good idea and she did the first cut. She just looks at me and laughs now."

There has also been a mixed reaction from residents in his home village of Gissing, regarding the

new look which may not last for

very long, he hinted.

"I have two elderly ladies who live next door and they don't like it at all. And a local farmer drove past on a tractor and thought 'Who is that at Mike's house'. He didn't recognise me," Mr Copperwheat explained.

Joining him for head shaves were fellow teachers Joss Outred and Simon Young.

The three teachers have been pledged about £300 in sponsorship, the beard and head shave being one of a number of events taking place to raise money for the project. These include a sponsored parachute jump planned by Mr Outred and English teacher Suzy Johnson.

The shave was carried out for free by local hairdresser Gary Cates whose daughter goes to the school. .

The link between Diss High and Jalthara Maha Vidyalaya, a rural school for 6-16 year olds, was

started in 2005 and has grown

in strength ever since.

Diss students collected books, games and stationery which were then sent out to the school and many have become pen-friends with the Sri Lankan children. Teachers from Diss have visited and taught at the school, and an ex-student worked there for eight weeks as part of her university degree.

As part of its specialist school status, Diss High has paid for the building of a new classroom at Jalthara specifically aimed at English activities, with students raising funds for desks and other equipment. The two schools exchange lesson ideas and work on linked topics.

The high school is grateful to all those who have already contributed to the initiative, and further donations or raffle prizes are welcomed. Contact Rosanna Ellis for more details on 01379 641255.

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