Hurrah for December 1st when the partners of men throughout the UK – and the world – can throw up their hands and rejoice that the males in their life will no longer resemble 70s’ sitcom stars.

For 30 days, tens of thousands of men have embraced their inner Tom Selleck and been walking billboards for the charity, which aims to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

While facial hair may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there is no denying the popularity of the initiative.  Established in 2003 by a few friends over a beer in Melbourne, the goal was simple – to create a campaign promoting the growth of the ‘tache among like-minded people while having fun along the way.

The campaign quickly gathered momentum, especially in Australia and my home country of New Zealand, before becoming a global movement that now spans 21 countries.

I’ve always been aware of how popular Movember is with Kiwis, but since moving to Newcastle last year I’ve been surprised at the huge following the charity has in Britain and throughout Europe.

Chevrons and handlebars are visible on the faces of celebrities from Stephen Fry to Joey Barton and my personal favourite, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw who is currently in the country on tour, as well as countless others who have pledged their support.

One of my colleagues here at Cool Blue has even developed a striking resemblance to Jim Carrey’s character Hank in the film “Me, Myself and Irene” while staff at Van Mildert, Barker and Stonehouse, Lingfield Point and Middlesbrough College have also become official Mo Bros.

We’ve laughed all month long at the strange styles that have sprouted, but unfortunately the truth behind the cause is no laughing matter.  Men tend to be much more complacent about their health compared to women, which is frightening when one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK.

The topic of men’s health has long taken a back seat in the public domain, but Movember brought the matter to the forefront.  In 2011 more than 254,000 participants in the UK raised more than £22 million for Prostate Cancer UK and The Institute of Cancer Research while £79.3 million was generated globally.

Just as Breast Cancer Awareness month has the pink ribbon, Movember has the moustache. So while most of us may prefer our lads clean shaven, just remember that putting up with the hairy little emblem for a month a year is worth it in the long run – so long as they shave it on December 1st!

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