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‘Santa’s beard’ of 38 years gets the chop, raising $10,000 for L’Arche Community

Shave for L’Arche: Michael Hutchinson before having his whiskers shaved to raise $10,000 for the L’Arche Brisbane community.

TWAS three weeks before Christmas, and everyone cheered and gathered to see Michael Hutchinson shave his beard.

L’Arche Community Brisbane met its goal of $10,000 and, “as promised”, Mr Hutchinson was put in the barber’s seat. 

The Brisbane L’Arche community leader said he had the beard since 1982 and had been growing out that iteration for a few months before it was chopped.

The video of Mr Hutchinson’s shave was posted on Facebook and gathered some traction, spreading awareness for his ministry.

“We were trying to raise some dollars and somebody said, maybe we can make it a bit interesting … if Michael shaved off his beard,” he said.

He said he was happy to do it to support his community.

“My children have never seen me without a beard, and my wife’s family they haven’t seen me without a beard either,” he said.

“I might need to wear a familiar hat when I see them next.”

Michael Hutchinson after his fundraising shave
New face: Michael Hutchinson, leader of L’Arche Community Brisbane, after his once-in-a-lifetime shave. Photo: Facebook.

Mr Hutchinson said he had already grown back some stubble.

He said with a laugh a lot of people probably thought he was vying for the Santa job at his parish at St Joseph’s Church, Bracken Ridge – but no more. 

Mr Hutchinson spent his Christmas with family and has, for the past eight or so years, invited asylum seekers and refugees to join his table for the celebration.

“When we celebrate as a family, you could say we have an international flavour to our table,” he said.

Mr Hutchinson’s work with L’Arche supported people with disabilities where the National Disability Insurance Scheme often could not.

He said that was where the funds from his shave went.

“I think a lot of people probably think disability is done and dusted now we have the NDIS, that’s fine, but I mean, for communities like ourselves, L’Arche communities, there’s lots of other things in life that are not covered by people’s support plans that help them have a good quality of life,” he said.

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