Page last updated at 13:23 GMT, Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Eavis wins 'beard of the decade'

Michael Eavis
Michael Eavis started shaving his beard to avoid being confused with revellers

Glastonbury Festival supremo Michael Eavis has beaten Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro to become the decade's "Beard of the Noughties".

The 74-year-old dairy farmer was awarded the title by campaign group the Beard Liberation Front (BLF).

Recent annual winners include the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and singer Tom Jones.

Mr Eavis joked: "Castro's a bit older and I'm not quite as grey as him. Perhaps I had a colour advantage."

'By a whisker'

As the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts entered the mainstream, ever-jovial boss Mr Eavis became just as famous for his gnome-like whiskers.

He added: "When I started growing a beard it started to become very full.

"You couldn't tell the difference between me and the people coming to the farm. So I had it tidied up a bit."

The full shortlist included former ministers Charles Clarke and Frank Dobson and poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen.

Fidel Castro
Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro: close but no cigar

The BLF, an informal network of beard wearers, said the accolade was decided upon after an intense discussion between about 200 members.

Organiser Keith Flett said: "Michael Eavis is a true hirsute icon of the noughties and he beat Castro to the accolade by the merest whisker.

"The support was split between Eavis and Castro.

"Castro is difficult to get hold of but I'm sure the news will filter through one way or another."

The BLF has recognised Britain's best beards for the past 15 years.

Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant won the Award in 2007 and cricketer Monty Panesar won in 2006.

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