Move over Santa! Croydon’s Matthew Wright grows ‘Decembeard’ to raise charity cash

Matthew Wright is leading bristly blokes in putting away their shaving foam in support of Decembeard and Teddington-based charity Beating Bowel Cancer.

Self-proclaimed ‘Croydon boy’ Matthew Wright has been a very active bowel cancer campaigner for the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research since the late 90s.

The TV presenter’s family is affected by a gene known as Lynch Syndrome.

His father died of bowel cancer at 52, his grandfather was diagnosed with the disease at 28 and tragically two of his relations are currently suffering from the illness.

“Bowel cancer has taken a terrible toll on my family,” said Mr Wright.

Fortunately the Channel 5 star discovered that he did not have the ‘dodgy gene’ when he was gene screened in a laboratory that he helped raise money for.

He was approached by Beating Bowel Cancer after he took part in I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here, where he grew a beard for the first time in the Australian jungle.

“It was the first time I have ever grown one,” he said. “I never saw myself in the jungle because Amy Willerton was always hogging the mirror. When I came out my beard covered over the gaps a little better than it is at the moment.

“It is a pleasure for me, an honour really, to get involved this time around, to raise awareness and hopefully a few quid.”

Nearly 16,000 people die each year in the UK of bowel cancer, which is on average a life lost every 32 minutes to the nation’s second biggest killer cancer.

However Mr Wright believes it is an exciting time in the field of cancer prevention.

“A very senior oncologist told me probably 15 years ago now about the potential value of aspirin, green bananas and nuts,” he said.

“In our stone age, when bowel cancer did not exist we would eat a whole lot of indigestible and difficult to digest vegetable fibre.”

The former showbiz columnist feels that bowel cancer gets a comparatively difficult press but he is aiming to raise plenty of money and awareness for the fight against it.

The Wright Stuff presenter said: “Within the charity world bowel cancer has a difficult time by comparison with things like breast cancer, because the media loves boobs and breasts and it seems the media is not keen to talk about bottoms and what goes up there, with all of the tubing associated.

“I set myself a fantasy target of £1 million and I would like to actually raise more, realistically I will be happy to get £10,000.

“So I intend to put my foot down a little bit harder now there are actually some face furs to be seen.”

This year the charity has set a fundraising target of £250,000, which they believe they will achieve due to the steady growth of the event.

The TV host has so far raised more than £2,000 and discovered that he was third on the charity’s leaderboard behind actor and fellow I’m A Celebrity competitor Christopher Biggins.

He said: “Christopher, bless him, he is an angel because I asked him to get involved with Decembeard and he took no persuading at all.”

You can help Matthew Wright get hold of top spot by clicking here.

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