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Stormont Diary: Ulster Unionist duo sport facial hair for cancer charities

By David Young

They've been dubbed Stormont's Starsky and Hutch and last week Basil McCrea and John McCallister were looking more like 70s crime fighters than ever.

Sporting a bruising black eye and a retro moustache, all the Ulster Unionist duo were missing was a souped up Ford Torino.

Like any good cop show, both characters had an intriguing back story for their facial anomalies.

Basil's brush with a fallen tree while driving home in last weekend's storm has already hit the headlines and one look at his wrecked car showed how fortunate he was to escape with just a puffy eye.

But some Assembly colleagues have apparently been less sympathetic.

"I've heard them all already," he sighed.

"Most are asking if it was Tom Elliott with a chainsaw!"

John's top lip transformation was rather more planned as the South Down MLA is participating in the increasingly popular "Movember" month-long 'tache growing challenge to raise money for cancer charities.

But if he wasn't turning as many heads as Basil in Parliament Buildings, there was a good explanation.

Despite almost two weeks' germination, the shoots were hard to spot.

So hard that UUP press officer Louise Scott had to apply a much-needed touch-up with a mascara pen ahead of a photoshoot to promote his fundraising efforts.

It was one of her last tasks before leaving the post she's held for more than two years to take up a new job as head of communications with the Yorkshire Building Society in Bradford.

"These are the moments I'll really miss," she deadpanned, wiping away a smudge from new deputy leader's face.

To donate to John's "Movember" challenge in memory of 24-year-old Rathfriland woman Louise Gibbons, who died two years ago of cervical cancer, contact his office on 028 4372 4400 or 19 Causeway Road, Newcastle.

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