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Jordan Dent (left), Michael Powick (centre) and Daniel Wieldraayer (right) will shave their beards and heads at the Mackenzie A&P Show to raise money for their friend Ian Simpson, a tetraplegic who needs improved wheelchair access in his Christchurch home. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A combined eight years of beard growth will face the chop next month, all to help out a mate.

Mackenzie mates Jordan Dent, Michael Powick and Daniel Wieldraayer have agreed to shave their beards and heads on April 2 at this year’s Mackenzie A&P Highland Show, in a bid to raise money for their friend, Ian Simpson.

Mr Simpson, formerly of the Mackenzie district, was left a C5 tetraplegic after he landed on the back of his head while trampolining in Canada.

He was doing gymnastics to improve his skills on the ski field.

“I wasn’t competitive – just training to [improve] my skiing,” he said.

Three years on, Mr Simpson lives in Christchurch where he has better access to care, but he plans to attend this year’s show, to watch his mates get their clean shaves.

The bearded trio said they were pleased to be able to help and encouraged others to support their cause, which has been on their agenda for “a while”.

“It’s one of those things we discussed over a beer once or twice and it’s finally happening,” Mr Wieldraayer said.

“Now we’ve got a bit of momentum.”

Mr Wieldraayer also thanked Hamish and Jo Lane and Bridget Anderson, who have been working behind the scenes to get the project under way.

There will also be a silent auction, which will earn the highest bidder the right to do the shaving, following the show’s grand parade.

The group will be based at its own site at the show from 10.30am.

Organisers hope to raise $6000, which will go towards improving wheelchair access at Mr Simpson’s home.

All going to plan, the event will also give Mr Simpson a chance to return to the Mackenzie district, where he grew up.

Originally from Lake Tekapo, Mr Simpson attended Mackenzie College before moving to Timaru Boys’ High School.

He later embarked on an apprenticeship as a fitter-welder.

Mr Simpson was thankful for his mates’ support, along with that of the wider community.

“I’m just really grateful to have some great friends,” he said.

“It’s just awesome. Any support I can get for funding [is] just amazing.”