'˜Man can express himself through a beard'
The Sandgrown Beardsmen sees beard-lovers from across the resort gather for drinks and chit-chat every month at the Church Street Barber Shop in central Blackpool.
The group was started in July last year by steel worker and beard enthusiast Brian Eva, 36.
He said: “I just stumbled across the British Beard Club on the internet and it seemed interesting. I was in the barbers and mentioned I was thinking about starting a club of my own, and it just went from there.
“We usually get between 12 and 18 people every month. We’ve got some guys that aren’t from Blackpool who didn’t know anybody and they have made some friends through it.
“Weirdly enough we don’t tend to talk about beards that much. We might get the odd person saying they’ve got some new beard oil that’s really good, but other than that it’s not usually a topic of conversation.
“We’re just normal people brought together by our passion for facial hair!”
The club, which is not exclusive to bearded folks only, raises money every week for a charity fund through raffles with beard-themed prized up for grabs.
Brian said: “We’ve been raising about £100 a month. Our last big event was in November when we did a Peaky Blinders night and everybody turned up dressed like it was 1918.
“The money has been building up since July and at the 12-month mark we’re going to give it to a local charity where we can see the real effect it has.”
Now Blackpool’s most unusual club is heading to an even more unusual national event: The British Beard and Moustache Championships in Liverpool this October.
Bearded men from around the country will meet in their hundreds to compare their extravagantly-styled facial hair and compete in a variety of different award categories, including best full beard, best styled beard, best goatee and best handlebar moustache.
Brian said: “I did compete in a beard fest in Liverpool in September and came second in the full natural beard competition. I don’t think I’ll win this year because the standard at the championships is so high and there are a lot of grand beards out there.”
Michael Sowerby, owner of Church Street Barbers, said: “I’ve always had an interest in observing subcultures. I think beards will end up as a subculture and I don’t think they will go out of fashion again.
“They allow men to personalise their appearance.” Even if a man has lost the hair on his head he can still express himself through a beard.”