If you stepped into Mark H Durkan's office this week you may be forgiven for thinking you'd happened across the set of an old Tom Selleck film. For the Derry MLA is sporting a moustache so spectacular that it is believed the World Moustache Championships 2012 are scouting him as a judge for next year's event.
But this is no act of vanity. Mark is growing his moustache to raise money for men's health. During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces around the world. The aim of which is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men.
"I was cajoled into doing Movember by the girls in my office," says Mark. "But I couldn't really turn down a chance to raise cash for and awareness of men's health issues, particularly as SDLP Health spokesperson.
"I was must say I am growing quite attached to my new tache, just as it is to me. I've decided to go for the full handlebar effect, might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb!
"I have got a bit of a slagging about my 'new look' but people are supportive when I explain my cause.
"I have raised a good bit of money so far but think I'll raise more over the next two weeks.I'd say the biggest donation will probably come from my girlfriend,Anne,not for growing the moustache but to make sure I get rid of it!"
If you would like to donate money for Mark's Movember cause please do so via the Movember website at http://uk.movember.com/mospace/1830146/