Murray takes it on the chin

John Whitfield preparing to remove the beard of Murray Smith for charity at John's home on Friday.

John Whitfield preparing to remove the beard of Murray Smith for charity at John's home on Friday.

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A Carnoustie man is parting company with his beloved beard to help raise money and awareness in support of an intrepid Peruvian charity trek.

Murray Smith (30) is waving goodbye to his whiskers at a charity race night in aid of Deafblind Scotland on Friday, November 22, in the Rugby Club.

He was inspired by his girlfriend Holly’s father, John Whitfield, a founding member of Deafblind Scotland who suffers from Usher’s Syndrome and has only around five per cent of his vision and severely limited hearing.

Murray said: “We want to raise awareness of Deafblind Scotland and also try to raise money to help John go on a sponsored trek to Machu Picchu in Peru.

“I’ve been growing my beard now for a year and I’ve kind of fallen in love with it but I still have to do it, I can’t go back on my word!”

John has been training regularly for his challenge which will see him trek around 60 miles through difficult terrain in the Peruvian mountains at altitudes of over 4,000 metres.

He has not let his condition hold him back, in fact the opposite. He said: “I’m grateful for the five per cent vision I have left, I don’t think about the other 95 per cent.

“I live for the moment, carpe diem if you will, as I can lose the rest at any time.”

This won’t be the first charity challenge John has attempted. He explained: “I did the Great Wall of China and that was extremely challenging. There were a lot of broken steps and track that disappeared into the mountain. It was arduous and pretty hard going and I had to rely on the guides on where to put my feet and for information about the terrain.”

Tickets for the race night are £5 on the door and include a buffet. There will also be plenty of raffles, prizes and entertainment throughout the evening.

John will be undertaking the Inca Trail trek in late April, early May. To sponsor him visit http://www.justgiving.com/John-Whitfield or to sponsor Murray and his beard shave visit http://www.justgiving.com/MurraySmith4