Bearded hero who “lost half a face” on cubby house mission

GONE: A clean-shaven Aaron Thompson after the clipping work of Stevie Payne and Nicole from Touche Hair Body Skin. Picture: Dylan Burns
GONE: A clean-shaven Aaron Thompson after the clipping work of Stevie Payne and Nicole from Touche Hair Body Skin. Picture: Dylan Burns

BEARDED hero Aaron Thompson “lost half a face” for a cubby house.

This was about more than shaving a bushy beard, cultivated for about three years, in the name of a good cause. For Mr Thompson, this was about the incredible community backing he had on his mission to raise enough money for a cubby house at Ballarat Specialist School.

Mr Thompson officially launched his campaign in June, after touring his nephew Dylan’s kindergarten. He was impressed and wanted to help, so took a good hard look in the mirror.

Aaron Thompson entered in the Best Beard section of the Fashions on the Field Competition at the 2017 Burrumbeet Cup on New Year's Day. Picture: Dylan Burns

Aaron Thompson entered in the Best Beard section of the Fashions on the Field Competition at the 2017 Burrumbeet Cup on New Year's Day. Picture: Dylan Burns

His beard had started as a bet with mates to let it grow. A shave yielded more than $15,000 – and counting – in a special family day at Miners Rest Tavern on Sunday afternoon. Special guest, Melbourne Cup winning strapper Stevie Payne, held the clippers.

“Locals in Miners Rest have really come out in support for the cause but also because of what the school does,” Mr Thompson said.

“It’s good to get more recognition for what the school does for children outside mainstream schooling. The event is more about a celebration day...the beard’s really just the show.”

Friend Manny Mason, whose son Xavier has autism and attends the school, also put his beard on the chopping block.

Their efforts eclipse Mr Thompson’s initial ambitious $5000 fundraising target for Ballarat Specialist School to put towards a custom-made cubby with wheelchair access and other special features for the Early Learning Centre’s children.

Bearded heroes Manny Mason, pictured with son Xavier, and Aaron Thompson before the big shave.

Bearded heroes Manny Mason, pictured with son Xavier, and Aaron Thompson before the big shave.

Every cent raised goes to the school’s cubby – and all the extra will go to any other playground equipment the school needs, which Mr Thompson was certain his nephew, who has autism, would love.

Mr Thompson was humbled to have people chip in whatever change they could. Some even stuffing money into his pockets on shave day.

Personally, now his beard has gone and his wife has seen his face for the first time since about wedding day, all Mr Thompson wanted to do was enjoy eating a big hamburger – something that had been tough to do with extensive facial hair.