A HEXHAMSHIRE vicar has shaved his beard for the first time in 40 years to raise money for a charity which helped his teenage son through cancer.

Rev. Andrew Patterson, who is the vicar at St Helen’s church in Whitley Chapel, needed to shave his beard as part of his role as chaplain at Hexham and Haltwhistle hospitals – where he must now fit a mask over his face to protect against coronavirus.

Because he began growing his beard in 1980, he said his wife had never seen him without it until he shaved it off last Wednesday.

Rev. Patterson decided to raise money through a Just Giving page for the Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity which supports the Royal Victoria Infirmary where his son John received care when he was undergoing cancer treatment when he was 17.

Now 28, John is a staff nurse working in the accident and emergency department at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington, where Rev. Patterson said he was treating a number of patients who were suffering with the coronavirus.

He said: “The Teenage Cancer Trust is a fantastic charity and they put a lot of money into the Great North Hospital at Newcastle. My son has really come through everything he has suffered. He had the most amazing care in the RVI when he was a patient. It is a miracle that we have got him and we are very proud of what he is doing now.”

After his daughter set up a Just Giving page, Rev. Patterson explained that people started donating almost immediately.

He said: “I had said we will just do it for 24 hours because I don’t want to make a big deal of it. There are a lot of people raising money for lots of different things. I had only put down a target of £500 but by the evening we had over £700.

“It is an amazing thing. I have got a cold face, but it’s worth it. I really didn’t know there would be a lot of interest. There are a lot of kind people looking to do things to help charities.”