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A hirsute housing hero has swapped his automatic drill for a fine tooth comb to partake in a competition with a bit of a difference.

When he’s not getting a ‘handlebar’ on repairs in the Swarcliffe estate, Ben Waddington is brushing, shaving and waxing to get the right look for his follicle frolics. Last month Ben, who has worked for Yorkshire Housing for six years, entered the British Beard Championships, which were held at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool.

“I’ve always had a goatee”, said Ben. And after a friend suggested he go a bit further, he couldn’t resist. “It began for Movember. One of the lads showed me a picture and said I wouldn’t dare do it and it was like a red rag to a bull. I’ve had the beard and moustache for six years now. It was just by accident I came across the competition.”

People from all over the world came together in August for the fourth British Beard Championships, 2018, with all sorts of moustaches, beards and other facial adornments exhibited on stage. Ben came second in his category – Musketeer. Other categories showcased different lengths, shapes and styles of beard.

“Some people travel to all the competitions but that is the big one where we all get together. There were more than 100 competitors. We were up on stage and I have never done it on stage before. It was a giggle, everyone was having a laugh. Both of my kids entered the fake beard competition too. The more I get into it the more my family want to come and get involved too. It’s something different. The ones with the massive beards usually win but this time one man with a moustache won. Fingers crossed one day I will win.”

Ben gets attention on the streets of Swarcliffe, Leeds, and especially when he hits the town in full ‘Musketeer’ regalia. “It’s got me a few free drinks on a night out”, he admits.

There are no intentions of ever shaving off his beard any time soon. “I will never shave it. I want the moustache as big as it can go. I like to be out there. It is a conversation starter and is a bit different.”