Army veteran starts 20-month ‘sponsored beard grow’ in memory of his two wives
- Credit: STEVE PIKE
A Suffolk army veteran has started a “sponsored beard grow” to raise money for the hospitals which cared for his two wives..
Steve Pike, 68, of Yoxford, has vowed to let his beard grow uncut for an amazing 20 months,
He is raising funds for palliative care wards at Ipswich Hospital and the Royal Infirmary Hospital in Edinburgh, which cared for his two late wives, Zoe and Angela.
“I had the idea at the beginning of lockdown,” he said. “My son sent me a photo of himself with a beard, and I thought, I can’t go to the barber’s, so I’ll grow a long beard.
“Within half an hour, that had changed to growing a beard for the palliative care wards.”
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Steve’s second wife, Zoe, was diagnosed with lupus during their marriage and he became her full-time carer. They divorced in 2000 but stayed good friends and Steve continued to care for her until he moved away.
Zoe passed away from cancer at Ipswich Hospital in 2007, aged 57. He said: “The staff did a fantastic job making her as comfortable as possible and supporting her children as much as possible. I would like to raise money for the palliative care ward to help them support other families in the same position as we were.”
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Steve married his third wife, Angela, in 2017, after moving back to his home town, Rugby. He said: “We enjoyed our short life together and travelled to a few European countries, which has left a lot of happy memories.” The couple moved to Edinburgh in 2018.
After Angela’s mother died in April 2019, they were about to leave for her funeral when Angela suddenly collapsed and was rushed to the Royal Infirmary Hospital in Edinburgh. She was diagnosed with a burst aneurysm on her brain, and sadly died a few days later, aged 61.
Steve said: “The staff there treated Angela and family with the utmost respect and dignity.”
He started growing his beard at the end of April, and intends to let it grow until his 70th birthday in December 2021.
“It’s already growing thick and fast, so let’s see how long I can get it in that time,” he said.
MORE: Epic trek to help Ipswich toddlerHe added he is also growing his hair long, because he thinks he might look silly with short hair and a long beard.
“Everyone is supporting me, but my daughter hates it, because she is not used to seeing me with a beard.”
All the money he raises will be equally split between the two hospitals to help buy more up-to-date equipment.
To support Steve’s fundraising, visit his JustGiving page.