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Lt Cdr Martin Pickles winner of best beard with Sarah Cherry, Sian Lewis, Cdr Al Haig CO of 815 NAS,
AET Thomas Hamlin winner of worst beard with Sarah Cherry, Sian Lewis, Cdr Al Haig CO of 815 NAS, Ja
AET Patrick Mcloughlin winner of most colourful beard with Sarah Cherry, Sian Lewis, Cdr Al Haig CO
L-R Cheque holding, Organiser of fundraiser LAET Monty Byrne, Sarah Cherry, Sian Lewis, Cdr Al Haig


Published: 18 Dec 2014

SAILORS raced to grow full beards to help raise money for a new special care baby unit inYeovilDistrictHospital.


Personnel from 815 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) threw their razors away for 4 weeks to see who could grow the best ‘full set’ in support ofYeovilDistrictHospital’s Flying Colours Appeal. 


Personnel at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton downed their razors on the 12 November 2014 and paid £5.00 to enter the competition in support of Yeovil’s Women’s Hospital.

Members of 815 NAS supported The Flying Colours Appeal for Yeovil Women’s Hospital last year going unshaven during the month of November and earlier this year with an abseil down the side of the hospital.

Royal Naval personnel are not allowed to grow a moustache but must support a full beard and only after permission has been obtained from their Commanding Officer.

Today saw 2 judges arrive fromYeovilHospitalto judge the best, the worst and the most colourful beard on the Squadron and receive a cheque for £345.71 towards their appeal.

Sarah Cherry the Community Fund Raiser said;

“We are really very grateful for all the support from 815 and without support from our community we would not have raised nearly £450,000. Our target is £500,000 to build a brand new special care baby unit so we are extremely appreciative of the Naval Air Squadrons contribution to that today and the humour with which they have approached it”!

Sian Lewis one of the nurses who works on the special baby unit added and a judge of the Beard Growing competition said

“The money we raise offers parents who need the special baby unit better facilities and increased support at what can be difficult and challenging times. Equipment is expensive but so is the training we need to make sure we give the best care and support possible at their time of need”.

Winners were; Lt Cdr Martin Pickles winner of best beard , AET Patrick Mcloughlin winner of most colourful beard  and AET Thomas Hamlin winner of worst beard! Thomas said;

“I am quiet embarrassed at my lack of growth but its worth the mickey take from the lads to support such a good cause”.

Very premature babies and babies born with serious health problems need immediate support in a specially designed environment. Yeovil’s Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) in the Women’s Hospital provides this immediate support, but it is not currently big enough to support around 200 babies every year placed in it. Many will stay for several weeks until they are well enough to be looked after by their parents. It can be babies who are premature, babies who are not well. Flying Colors hopes that a new SCBU will provide a solution to one of the most unfortunate aspects of having a baby in Special Care, the fact that mother and baby are not able to stay together during this anxious time. Having some comfortable space and support for visits is absolutely essential.


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