A BUTCHER has raised around £8,000 for a children’s hospice through wacky haircuts – and now his wife won’t go outside with him.

John Gibbon, of Goodswen Butchers on Redcar High Street, first got a ‘bowl’ cut mid-July, after having enough of his grown-out lockdown hairdo.

The 56-year-old decided to raise money for Zoe’s Place, a Middlesbrough children’s hospice this is close to his heart after losing his four-month-old son Christopher to cot death 31 years ago.

Thinking he would raise just £500, donations flooded in from customers of the popular butchers, which has been on the high street 236 years, and pushed the man’s total past £1,000 before the cut and then up to £7,000.

The man, who is over the moon despite his wife saying she will not go outside with him now, raised a further £1,000 by getting a ‘monk’ cut – a halo of hair around his head – on Friday, July 31.

Going live on Facebook, as he did previously with the bowl cut, which saw 60 people tune in to Goodswen's page, Mr Gibbons also hosted a small, socially distanced gathering in The Monk, a pub in Guisborough.

The Northern Echo: The 'monk' cutThe 'monk' cut

The man's efforts have gathered support across the Tees Valley, Spain and Canada, with donations also coming from as far away as Chile and Australia.

He said: “I wasn’t nervous or apprehensive but now I’ve come to work, it’s like oh my god how bad does it look.

“Customers will be nice about it because they know me and why I’ve done it, but it’s when I walk home or I’m in the supermarket where people will take the mickey and that will be embarrassing.

“My wife is not happy, she said she is not going anywhere with me and I don’t blame her – I wouldn’t go anywhere with me either.”

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Despite this, Mr Gibbon, who ordinarily sports are crew cut that is “a bit more square on top”, prefers his new do to the bowl cut and is set on keeping it until his hair grows out.

Most donations have been over the counter, Mr Gibbon says, thanking his “wonderful” customers.

This includes a huge donation from an anonymous stranger, whose identity is still unknown, who left envelopes marked for Zoe’s Place at the butchers – which contained £3,000.

“Someone came when I was out the back and passed over a bag to the girls saying give it to John,” the dad, who, due to coronavirus, starts work at 4.30am each day to deep clean before his asthmatic son comes to work, added.

“They just put it on the back counter and didn’t take much notice. When I opened it and saw the envelopes I was like oh my god, god almighty.

“People don’t believe me that we didn’t notice but we just have great customers.

"The other day, one lady came in with a yellow duster over her face because she forgot a face mask but still wanted to be considerate for vulnerable people, and that is all that was in her car.”

It is this spirit that has seen the man surpass his fundraising target time and time again.

Mr Gibbon, who has previously raised funds for charity through marathons, says Covid-19 forced him to get creative but was worried when he first began as, due to the pandemic, around 60 per cent of his customers began paying with card.

“Customers purchasing a £3 product will pay with a £20 and say keep the change, to put it in the tub for Zoe’s Place," he added.

“To think people are being so generous when everyone is going through a hard time.

"I’m over the moon with the amount we’ve raised, down to the coppers over the counter. It’s just fantastic.”

While partially worried his hair may never grow back due to the closeness of the shave, if he hits the £10,000 mark in donations Mr Gibbon will do “something else”.

He added: “I don’t have much hair left but if I get to £10,000 I would have to so something else as a thank you – something that is very bizarre.”

Mark Guidery, general manager of the Middlesbrough hospice, said: "When we found out about John’s plans we were all just blown away by his kindness.

"Margaret Barron who is one of our longest serving volunteers went along last Friday to say thank you on behalf of the hospice team and was made very welcome by John and his friends.

"The amount he has raised through his creativity is just brilliant and just what the hospice needs right now to get back on its feet and continue helping children and their families from all over the North-East.

"We are very lucky indeed to have such good friends and supporters."