Page last updated at 10:43 GMT, Friday, 14 November 2008

Maginness' hairy moment for charity


The moment of truth for the assembly member's tache

It was one of the most famous landmarks in Northern Ireland politics, but Alban Maginness has finally removed it in the name of charity.

The North Belfast MLA's moustache has had its fair share of hairy moments over the years as its owner survived the cut and thrust of the electoral game.

But on Thursday morning, in an Antrim Road barber shop, it was shaved off to raise funds for Children in Need.

Mr Maginness said it had been an emotional moment.

"This week I have gone through almost the entire gambit of human emotions - fear, trepidation, uncertainty, night sweats - but I felt that the time was right for a clean break as politician and public figure," he said.

"The entire shaving experience literally involved a lot of blood, sweat and tears, and that was just me - I can testify that removing 37 years of growth is painful both emotionally and physically.

"However, I can say that I now feel like a new man.

"It's a bit of a liberation almost, and we should not forget that it was all for a good cause.

"I am quickly closing in on my target of raising 1,000 for Children in Need and I hope that my small gesture will play a small part in raising a record amount at this year's event."

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