Pals are reaching the ‘cut off’ point

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With the ‘cut off point’ just over a week away, Magherafelt friends Kevin Chung and Francie Heaney are nearing the end of their hair-raising charity challenge.

A bit of fun in The Step Inn pub at Rainey Street in the town over the New Year period, led to the pair of proud ‘baldies’ daring each other to see who could grow the most hair.

The challenge captured the imagination of the local public and business owners and so far they have raised more than £1,200.

The plan is to split the money between two charities: the Prostrate Cancer Unit at Belfast City Hospital and the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

Kerry Devlin, who works in the bar, said they have been “overwhelmed” by the response from the general public.

Later this week Francis is planning to dye his hair pink ahead of getting it shaved off on February 25 when the challenge officially ends.

Among the many items donated for auction is a British Darts Organisation T-shirt signed by the winner and runner up of this year’s competition. A bid of £100 has been placed on this collector’s item, but the organisers are hoping it will raise more before the auction closes.

Said Kerry: “We would like to thank all the local businesses and people who have thrown their support behind this and thank them for their generosity.

“When we started off we did not know how it would go but we have been overwhelmed by the support shown.”

Francie (66) received treatment for prostrate cancer five years ago and wants his half of the total money raised to go to the unit at Belfast City Hospital. Sixty-five-year-old Kevin picked the Royal Children’s Hospital because his grand daughter received treatment there when she was very young.

Publican Brendan Masterton thanked everyone for their efforts. “We keep lifting money every day for the charities,” he added. “It’s been an incredible effort.”