Geoff Cross to shave off beard for charity

SCOTLAND prop Geoff Cross is to shave his beard off completely in a bid to boost the fundraising efforts of former team-mate John Houston.

Geoff Cross, as seen during this year's Six Nations tournament. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Geoff Cross, as seen during this year's Six Nations tournament. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Geoff Cross, as seen during this year's Six Nations tournament. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Cross has become known for his trademark bushy beard, which he has been growing for the last 12 months, and although tempted to keep it longer, will remove it completely upon reaching his £10,000 target.

Scotland international and London Irish tight head prop Geoff Cross, has agreed to remove his beard completely to support the fundraising efforts of his former Edinburgh Rugby team mate, John Houston.

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The London Irish player’s resemblance to Harry Potter character Rubeus Hagrid secured a £5,000 donation from author JK Rowling to boost Houston’s bid to raise £10,000 for the Wooden Spoon children’s rugby charity.

And Cross, 32, decided to raise double the amount of Rowling’s donation before getting rid of the fuzz.

Despite being tempted to keep his trademark beard for longer, Cross wrote on his justgiving page: “I have been tempted in recent weeks to keep growing my beard but after a year’s growth and an increasing amount of pressure from my wife I have decided to shave off my now infamous beard in the name of charity. However before I go any where near the clippers we need to raise £10,000.

“The money raised will go to the children’s charity Wooden Spoon, which is dedicated to transforming the lives of disadvantaged children and young people across the British Isles through the power of rugby.”

Houston, who retired from rugby last year, is aiming to reach £50,000 in total before he treks 100 miles to the North Pole in April, where he will take part in the northernmost rugby match in history.

Cross is currently sitting on £7,807.62 in donations at the time of writing, just over £2,000 short of his target.

Last year, he told The Scotsman the reasons behind growing the beard, revealing: “I was at Glasgow for ten weeks last season and I talked to Josh Strauss.

“And he said, ‘You know, Geoff, you say that after rugby you’re going to work as a medic, and I see you haven’t shaved for a few days – really I don’t think very many people would be happy if they went to a GP practice to talk about their sore back, looking to be reassured, and there was this man with this enormous beard.

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“So really, this is the only time in your life that you’ve got to grow a beard. You should seize that opportunity.”

Strauss himself is the owner of an impressive beard, but Cross admitted that he would need to examine health and safety regulations, if he was to regrow a beard as ‘Doctor’ Cross.

“I haven’t looked into it that deeply. Intuitively, though, I’d imagine there’s some sort of infection control risk. I should really go to a hospital and ask infection control about their policy on facial hair,” he added.