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A £6k chest of cash for hospice as hairy farmer Sammy has torso waxed

By Rachel Martin

Farmers raised more than £6,000 for a good cause after the so-called hairiest farmer in the Ards Peninsula volunteered his chest for charity.

People could pay up to £100 to rip strips of hot wax off Co Down dairy farmer Sammy Steele's chest.

The challenge dubbed 'Chest of Steele' was organised by a group of tractor drivers known locally as Team Green.

More than 250 people crammed into a machinery shed-turned-salon in Carrowdore to watch as Sammy endured a full chest wax on Good Friday.

Minutes before, onlookers were stunned as around 140 tractors stopped traffic. Farmers and machinery enthusiasts from as far away as Lisburn joined in a parade to show their support for the event, passing through the townlands of Newtownards and ending at the make-shift salon.

Beauty therapist Kerry Reynolds grimaced as she started to trim the excess hair with scissors before starting the waxing process.

The event started as a dare after friends jokingly chided Sammy for his hairy torso.

As for Sammy himself, he said it was no hair off his chest.

In a heartfelt address, he told the crowd he felt compelled to turn the dare into a fundraiser for the Northern Ireland Hospice after he watched nurses at the centre care for his mother-in-law.

"For me the main thing was raising money for the hospice - until you're in the situation where you need them you have no idea just how much they do," he said.

"I said if they could raise £1,000 I would do it. That night they did a whipround in the pub and they put £500 down on the table, so I thought if I upped it to £2,000 farmers, having a reputation for being tight, wouldn't do it - but they really exceeded all of our expectations.

"So far we've reached £6,000, but the JustGiving page is still open and there's a few more to come in."

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