A doctor who shaved all his facial hair off for the first time in five decades to raise funds for a polio vaccine says his wife doesn’t recognise him.
While Dr Manoj Joshi, 68, had trimmed his beard before, he had not shaved his moustache since he was 16 years old.
Joshi’s wife said she she’d never seen him without facial hair before in the 42 years they had been married.
A member of Rotary International, a humanitarian service whose goal is to advance goodwill and peace around the world, Dr Joshi has been involved in what he calls “acts of giving” for his entire life.
On Saturday, World Polio Day, he took centre-stage at a park in front of Bradford City Hall to shave off his beloved moustache.
He was nervous and said he’d miss his beard, which was painted purple as an homage to how immunised children had their little finger dyed purple.
When a child receives their polio drops on mass polio immunisation days, their little finger is painted with a purple dye so it is clear they have received the vaccine.
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Dr Joshi, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, hopes to raise awareness and funds for the Rotary Foundation’s End Polio Now campaign – and has so far raised nearly £4,000.
He said: “It was such an emotional day for me because this cause means the world and if we can eradicate polio and make sure no child is at risk – it will be a great day.
“We are so close and I think we need to keep doing all we can to push over the final stretch.
“For me, it’s very strange to be without my moustache which I’ve had for 52 long years – but shaving it off is nothing compared to what we are fighting for.
“The barber told me he would need a lawnmower to shave it all off – but thankfully he managed in just 30 minutes.
“It was light-hearted fun but there is a profound importance to this. These causes are so close to my heart.
“But I do feel very weird and strange now without my beard and moustache.
“You don’t normally keep something for half a century but my moustache has always been there.”
While there hasn’t been a case of