Prison officers’ ‘Beardy Team’ holds the key to hair-raising help for HospiceCare

Phil McCurley, Phil Wood, Stephen Shepherd and Gary Johnson who grew beards for Billy in aid of HospiceCare North Northumberland.
Phil McCurley, Phil Wood, Stephen Shepherd and Gary Johnson who grew beards for Billy in aid of HospiceCare North Northumberland.

A beardy challenge has led to raising hospice cash in memory of a beloved family member.

Billy Graham, from Widdrington, died on October 27 after a long battle with prostate cancer.

The 69-year-old was diagnosed 12 years ago and managed his condition with support from the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, but two years ago, the fatigue and pain worsened and his GP suggested HospiceCare North Northumberland.

Mr Graham’s wife Jennifer said: “HospiceCare was wonderful. We received four different ladies and each night one would come at a time to suit us, sit with Bill all night and when he wanted to talk, they listened. He felt safe and comforted. When he didn’t want to talk, they respected that. The hospice was able to give the whole family respite.”

Mr Graham’s son-in-law Phil McCurley, a Prison Custody Officer at HMP Northumberland, wanted to raise funds to thank the hospice so at the beginning of November he challenged colleagues to ‘Grow a Beard for Billy’.

The six-man team has so far raised £300, with another £500 donated from Mr Graham’s funeral. The ‘Beardy Team’ now wants to break the £1,000 mark, but a ‘big shave’ will take place on Christmas Eve. To donate email jpmccurley@icloud.com