Co-founder of Gainsborough's Bearded Fishermen charity pledges to shave off his beard

One half of Gainsborough’s Bearded Fishermen will no longer be bearded as he has pledged to shave off his beard for their charity.

Rick Roberts is chairman of the suicide prevention charity, Bearded Fishermen, which he set up alongside Mick Leyland, who will also be getting his head shaved.

Rick said: “We have decided to do this hair shave with myself and Mick as part of our Life campaign.

"This is made up of our nightwatch suicide prevention teams and for our fast response team.”

Rick Roberts and Mick Leyland

Over the last year the Bearded Fishermen have extended its call centre manned service for longer hours as well as increasing the lines to 14 between 9am and 5pm and six lines for out of hours, they have rooms available for one-to-one private chats, known as safe rooms and also video groups or individual chat rooms online.

Rick said: "Our charity was set up by myself and Mick, who are both under medication for depression and anxiety and we have both attempted suicide on several occasions.

"We are still looking for more volunteers that have life experience as we have seen that support is often better when it’s lived.

"We use our support team to reach out through our huge contacts list of different agencies that we have built up relationships with and we have all our details in with the police, EMAS, and several councils around Lincolnshire and with the NHS.

"We also get housing associations calling us when they have tenants in need.”

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In November last year the charity launched its Night Watch project which sees teams of volunteers patrolling Lincolnshire’s known suicide spots.

The volunteers, who operate on foot, are equipped with team radios, GPS devices tracked by the emergency services, first aid response equipment, food and essentials ready to offer support to people in need.

Rick said: “We are currently about to start talks with Bassetlaw and North Lincs councils and also Notts and Hull NHS. Eventually we will have teams out in most major towns and all linked through to our call and control centre.”

If you would like to make a donation visit www.justgiving. com/fundraising/bf-shave-off or alternatively you can text LIFE to 70460 to donate £1.