A Hartlepool man known affectionately as ‘Jimmy the Tash’ says his friends are passing him in the street after he lost his trademark facial hair for charity.
For almost 40 years Jimmy Besford has sported a big bushy moustache, but he decided to say goodbye to it in a bid to raise funds for the Great North Air Ambulance.
Now, the 59-year-old HGV driver, says he is like a different person - with many not even recognising him.
Even Jimmy’s wife Margaret and stepson Paul Kay have never seen him with a clean shaven face.
He said: “Margaret thought it was really strange at first seeing me without the moustache, but she is getting used to it now.
“I do feel strange without it, and people just don’t recognise me.
I think people have been talking to the moustache all these yearsJimmy Besford
“I was know as Jimmy the Tash before, I think people used to just associate me with it.
“I was talking to a bloke from work the other day and it was ages before he realised who I was.
“I think people have just been talking to the moustache all these years.”
Jimmy, of Speeding Drive, said he was also ignored at a bar he often goes to where they usually see him come in and have his drinks ready.
But, he says it has been good fun and he is thrilled to have raised more than £1,000 for the charity, with the help from his friends and a charity night at Ashfield Caravan site at Dalton Piercy, where he is friends with the owners.
He said: “I have always like riding motorbikes, and still do, and it is the air ambulance who are called when people have a crash on them, so I decided I would try to raise some money for the charity.
“It costs a fortune to keep them in the air, so the money is much needed.
“We were talking about how we could raise the money and as no-one had ever seen me without a moustache, I thought shaving it off would be a good idea.
“I thought we might raise a couple of hundred pounds, but to raise more than £1,000 is brilliant.”
Although he has no regrets about shaving off the tash for charity, Jimmy says he plans to start growing it back later in the year.