Judge: Brendan Johnson

‘Save the best til last’ they say. If you thought getting Kay Wallage on stage was a bold move, you ain’t seen nothing yet…

So here’s the final judge for this year’s panels – often known as ‘Merlot’ (Merlin’s drunker brother) – Mr Brendan Johnson!

In his own words…

Currently 3rd best freestyle beard in the U.K., and the reigning ‘Best Presented’ from DCBMC 2016. I’ve been described as ‘interesting but not relevant’. And I do dress like this outside beard contests.

Yes, that is actually him at work. We love these beardy nutters…

Judges: Ian & Elaine Shere-Massey

This year we have new representatives for the Devon Air Ambulance, Ian & Elaine Shere-Massey. Here’s a little about them, written by Ian…

Having had to retire from employment many years ago through ill health, I wanted to do something positive with my life that would greatly benefit the lives of others. Every charity that I looked at were certainly all in need of help and support, but for me one stood out clearly from all others and that was, the Devon Air Ambulance! To be able to get the most seriously injured and sick people flown by air whilst receiving onboard treatment to the appropriate hospital seemed to be exactly what I wanted to volunteer to help raise money for.

Both me and my wife Elaine joined the trust as volunteers about eight years ago, myself as a volunteer speaker, and Elaine in a support role helping along the way, also as a volunteer. We have attended many events, and represented the trust by attending cheque presentations, and helping with many of the trusts events held to raise funds.

Judge: PJ, Cut The Punx

Local pop-up barber and all-round lovely human PJ is the third barber in our lineup for last-minute tidy-ups, and will also be judging. In his own words…

Cut The Punx (aka PJ Shepherd) is a pop-up barber, based in Exeter, but available for hire anywhere you like. Trained at the top class Gents of London Barber Academy, PJ has appeared at festivals, gigs, cinemas, fundraisers, fairs, coffee shops, tattoo conventions and galleries across the UK and mainland Europe.

When PJ is not taking selfies with dogs or practising his bass scales, you’ll find him taming the manes and beards of anyone willing to sit down and listen to him talk about why “As The Eternal Cowboy” is the greatest album ever made or how easy it is to make vegan nuggets. He is a lover of all the people and wants to hear your story.

PJ is looking forward to manning the barber station at the DCBMC, and despite the fact that his partner won’t allow him to have a full beard, he has somehow made it onto the judging panel too!

Facebook & Instagram: @cutthepunx
cutthepunx@gmail.com

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Photo credit: Tempo Media

Judge: Liam Hamilton

We are delighted to announce that one of our judges this year is 2017 Cornish Barber of the Year, Liam Hamilton!

As well as judging, Liam will also be on our barber station – so if you decide to compete at the last minute, pop over and get a quick beard tidy up from one of the best in the business.

Earlier this year, he was hand-picked by the Great British Barbering Academy to lead bespoke barber training courses across Cornwall after performing an outstanding demonstration at Barber UK. GBBA Head Educator Mike Taylor, said: “I was blown away by the skills, knowledge, and confidence that Liam displayed. He is a testament to how far barbering has come in the modern era and I am very excited to welcome him into our team.”

Having become a barber at 19, Liam went on to serve in the Coldstream Guards – an infantry unit famous for being the oldest regiment in the British Army. “While undergoing multiple tours of Northern Ireland and Iraq, I always carried my barbering tools with me,” he said. “The brilliant thing about barbering is that it’s a skill/art that will always be needed, no matter where you are on the planet.”

After 21 years of service, he returned to the barbershop to hone his skills, become fully qualified, and build a name for himself in the barbering community: “It was always my plan to carry on barbering after serving in the Guards. I think it’s because I liked the idea of being my own boss,” he said. Liam now owns two very successful barber shops in Redruth.

With his military background, he has also founded the Armour to Barber initiative, which is helping ex-service personnel to retrain as barbers. “With Armour to Barber we hope to make the transition to civilian life a little easier for ex-service men and women; these incredible people are perfect candidates and will be great assets to the industry,” he explained.

And if that’s not all impressive enough, he’s also one of the nicest people you could meet! So come along and see him at DCBMC, or if you’re in Cornwall pop down to Redruth and get yourself some top-notch beard barbering at Hamilton’s Barber Shop.

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Thanks to GBBA

Judge: Yvan Williams

The man behind the original Devon beardy socials, Beard & Tonic, Yvan’s hosting our Friday night pre-party at his pub The Oddfellows in Exeter. Beer and beards – what more could you want?! In his own words…

Owner of The Oddfellows in Exeter and Exmouth.

A slight novice to the beard competition scene but has supported the beards of Exeter for the last 4+ years, (Beard & Tonic) and is privileged to be on board this year.

Creator of Beard & Tonic in Exeter, due to lack of Beard Technicians at that time. With the development of the barber scene in Exeter, which has grown massively in the last couple of years, he’s moved his Beard & Tonic pop up barber evenings to The Oddfellows – Exmouth to bring a little bit of hairiness to the coast!

Yvan can’t shave his beard of until his youngest daughter is at least 8 as she wouldn’t recognise him without a beard and would probably cry.

Judge: James Hayball

We’re delighted to introduce another first-time judge at this year’s DCBMC – more likely to be fondled than be a fondler, it’s BILF’s very own James Hayball! In his own words…

My name is James Hayball and I am relatively new to the beard community.

I was first introduced through my lovely girlfriend Victoria Scarfield who runs the apparel company ‘BILF’.

I started attending beard conventions to help her, the first being the beard and moustache championship 2016 in Liverpool which was definitely an eye opener, and it went from there!

Lions Barber Collective

The Lions Barber Collective

We are very pleased to once again support The Lions Barber Collective, and in turn have them supporting DCBMC. Through their Fit for Vikings ‘Lion’ grooming products, they are sponsoring our new secret category (ooh!), and Chair of the Board of Trustees Kris Paver is one of our judges. Visit the Lions stand on the day to find out about their amazing work, and read a little about them right now…

The Lions Barber Collective was founded by Torquay-based hair-stylist and barber, Tom Chapman, following personal experience of knowing a young man who had taken his own life.

With suicide amongst men, especially young ones, on the rise, it aims to provide information and training about mental health and create space for men to be able to discuss mental health concerns in an informal, supportive environment.

Monthly Lions Walks, which take place on the first Sunday of the month and Lions Dens, which are held in barbershops and salons on the last Friday of the month, are the principal activities promoted by the Collective. It also provides training to barbers in how to recognise signs of suicidal thoughts, depression, self-harm or mental health issues, as well as giving presentations to schools and other organisations.

What started as a local initiative is now a global movement, with supporters in many countries.

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I’m Kris Paver, a Devonian born and bred! I have been a committed beard-wearer for over 25 years.

For most of those years the beard has been kept short and trim due to my professional life, but over the last few years I have let it grow!

It was while keeping the beard in good shape that I got to know the indefatigable Tom Chapman, the power behind the Lions Barber Collective, of which I am the Chair of the Board of Trustees. I am also proud to be the Principal Ambassador for Fit for Vikings beard products, a member of the South West Beard Club and a Bearded Villain.

Kay Wallage

Judge: Kay Wallage

A star of the beardy scene, Kay is warm, funny, and NSFW. If you’re looking for her, hold a pint of cider in the air and she’ll find you! In her own words:

Hello fellow pogonophiles! Most of you will already know me, but in case not I`m Kay Wallage a.k.a. Mrs Chops.

I’ve had the pleasure to be around some of the best beards in the world. I’ve been to two world championship events and will shortly be heading of to my third world championship competition in Austin, Texas.

I know a good beard when I see one and I certainly know the amount of time and effort that goes into maintaining an award winning beard… as I can never get near the bloody mirror.

I’ve competed a couple of times in the Whiskerina category, it’s not really for me because I`m the shy retiring sort, as many of you will no doubt have noticed…

It’s an honour to be asked to judge, and I wish each and every one of you good luck.

Judge: Sooze Higgins

One of the lovely ladies behind the brilliant Oxford Beard Festival, Sooze has been a fan of competitive bearding since watching Whisker Wars in 2012. In her own words:

Sooze is a lover of the facial ornamentation and can often be seen wearing a big 70’s style ‘tash.

She can be seen at some of the many competitions held around the UK, and is very proud to have won first prize in the handmade category at The 2016 Be Beard event in Walsall and also at the Wessex Beard & Moustache Championships 2017.

Sooze has other proud moments in her life, apart from her crazy kids; she also organises the Oxford beard Festival with her daughter Faithy! She is super excited to have been asked to be a judge at DCBMC.

We’re super excited to have you, Sooze!

Dr Alun Withey

Judge: Dr Alun Withey

Mrs DCBMC has been trying to get Dr Alun to DCBMC for the past two years, but it always clashes with his family holidays – until now!

An award-winning academic historian, with research subjects including shaving and masculinity in the 18th century; he’s also a TV and radio presenter of programmes such as ‘The Barbershop in the Eighteenth Century’ and ‘Beards, Whiskers and the History of Pogonotomy’. In his own words…

Dr Alun Withey is a historian of health, medicine and the body in Britain, currently working on a major research project at the University of Exeter, titled ‘Do Beards Matter? Facial Hair, Health and Medicine in Britain, c. 1650-1900’. His previous work has included studies of the body and politeness in the eighteenth century, and a prize-winning book on the history of medicine in Wales.

Dr Withey is a regular contributor to television and radio, and has appeared (for 30 seconds) on BBC’s The One Show, and recently annoyed John Humphries on Radio 4’s Today programme.

As a beardless, clean-shaven man, he is the worst possible poster boy for his own project.

He annoyed John Humphries?! I like him even more now! -Mrs DCBMC