Dad's challenge to men not to get hair cut during coronavirus lockdown

A dad’s failed attempt to get his hair cut has led to men around the world becoming unkempt – and raising thousands of pounds for a good cause.

Friday, 10th April 2020, 8:37 am
Updated Friday, 10th April 2020, 8:38 am
Tony Doyle, who set up The Lockdown Challenge on Facebook

Tony Doyle had no idea where that unsuccessful trip to a barber just before the coronavirus lockdown would lead.

The 35-year-old said: “Ten days ago I went to try to get my hair cut. It was just before Boris Johnson announced we were going into lockdown and I couldn’t get it cut.

“I put on Facebook that it looked like we couldn’t get our hair cut, so who was up for growing their hair? I got 20 replies and asked them to send their pictures.”

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One of the photographs was sent to Tony by a friend who had already spent two weeks self-isolating and looked “completely dishevelled”.

His appearance inspired Tony, who lives in Leigh, to set up a Facebook page encouraging men not to groom during the lockdown, with a prize at the end for whoever looked the worst.

Tony, a PE teacher at a special needs school, said: “I thought it might reach 50 people in Leigh or maybe get to Wigan. I set up a group with no male grooming, upload two pictures a week of your progress and see where it went.

“It hit 400 members and I thought it was getting a bit much. Then we hit 1,000.

“I thought I could do something to give back and raise money for the NHS. I asked people to give £1 if they could.”

The number of people joining the group has continued to soar and donations have poured in.

Tony said: “It’s at just over 22,000 members and we are 10 days old. We have just raised over £10,000. You could say it’s gone a little bit big. We have got members in 58 countries now.”

As well as the men sharing photographs of themselves, they can get support for their mental health and well-being by talking with fellow members.

The men rallied around when Tony received a message from a man who had just moved house, lost his job and had not eaten for two days. Within 20 minutes, his cupboards and fridge were full of food thanks to the members.

Medical professionals in the group have shared information about Covid-19 to ensure members are getting all the facts.

Tony also sets challenges every day or two in a bid to have fun and relieve the boredom faced by some men. For example, he asked those who had planned to attend ladies’ day at Aintree to post pictures of what they would have worn and some were photographed in women’s clothing.