A WOLLASTON man who is halfway through a charity challenge to grow a beard for a year is now itching to shave it off.

James Firkins, of Leonard Road, last picked up the razor on New Year’s Day said his new facial hair has been a "nightmare to maintain".

The hirsute 26-year-old is attempting to raise £1,000 for Mary Stevens Hospice, in memory of his father David, who was cared for there in 2010, at the end of his battle with pancreatic cancer.

His current total stands at £553.

James, who will be studying illustration and creative writing at University of Worcester from September, said: “The hospice helped my dad live out his last days with dignity and comfort. By raising money, others may have the chance to create amazing parting memories with their loved ones.”

He added: "The beard is progressing well, with many people commenting on it's size. It's difficult to make it look neat seeing as I cannot trim anything other than my moustache.

"It isn't too hot in the sun, as many would think but it is extremely itchy as it grows.

"I want to shave it off, but I'm more determined to raise the £1,000 target I set for the benefit of Mary Stevens."

To sponsor James, visit http://www.justgiving.com/james-firkins.