An East Lancashire panto dame is preparing to shave his 21-year-old beard off and he’s raising money for charity in the process.

Chris Watts, originally from Waterfoot but now living in Clayton-le-Woods, has had some form of beard for 21 years but must now shave it off in order to play a pantomime role.

The 41-year-old is set to play an ‘ugly sister’ in Bolton Little Theatre’s pantomime production of Cinderella, but has been told to brave the shave if he wants the role.

Lancashire Telegraph: Chris WattsChris Watts (Image: Chris Watts)

Chris said:  “I am doing this because I have a role in panto that isn’t compatible with a large beard like I have.

“Traditionally in pantomime you wouldn’t have a dame with a beard.”

Chris says he is going to find it “ridiculously difficult” to part with his beard and says his children might not recognise him.

He said:  “It is worth it for the role. I always said that if I ever were to shave it off it would be for a role as a dame in a panto.

Lancashire Telegraph: Chris WattsChris Watts (Image: Chris Watts)

 “I am just grateful that the director wanted me for the role and he was happy I decided to shave it off.

“My kids have never seen me without a beard and they’re a bit wary to see it go.”

Chris will also be shaving his beard to raise money for Chorley children’s hospice Derian House. He has raised more than £890 so far.

He said: “I set a £1,000 target because I knew I really wanted to get stuck in and raise a lot of money.

“I am pleasantly surprised by the amount of support I have had. I am hoping for a big last push to raise the last £100.

“The work that children hospices, such as Derian House, do is amazing.

“My wife volunteers at Derian House helping with sibling support. It’s a fantastic local charity.”

Chris is set to shave his beard off on Wednesday, November 9, at the Groom Room in Chorley.

When the pantomime is over does he have any plans to grow it back?

“The jury is out,” Chris said.

“I might be pleasantly surprised with how I look without a beard, or my wife might tell me to grow it straight back again as she’s the reason I’ve kept it for all these years.”

You can donate to Chris' fundraiser by visiting his JustGiving page.