Retired Regimental Sergeant Major Noel O’Callaghan.

Moustachioed ex-army man will get major change of face!

Noel O’Callaghan, the well known retired Regimental Sergeant Major in Mullingar, is sacrificing his carefully-tended moustache in order to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House in Dublin, which provides accommodation for families who have children in hospitals in the city.

The only time in his adult life that Noel was without a moustache was while he was on a tour of duty in Chad: shower time was restricted to 30 seconds, and so for hygiene reasons, he shaved it off.

“At the moment, given the social restrictions, the shave will probably be at my house,” says Noel, adding that his daughter, Rebecca, has volunteered to wield the razor.

The deed is to be done on Tuesday December 1, and between now and then, Noel, who lives at Willowbrook, on the Ballymahon Road, is hoping that via his GoFundMe page, he can raise €1,000 for the charity: already he is at the half-way point.

“There are so many charities that are struggling with the pandemic,” he said.

“If you go to Dunnes Stores, all the bagpacks that would traditionally be there are all gone; the Pieta House ‘Darkness Into Light’ event – gone; so there is a huge amount of deserving charities.

“However, what caught me about this one was I happened to be reading about a family that had been there, and what it did for them, and it just hit me that these people provide such a valuable service, and I just decided to go for it.”

At the end of October, the Ronald McDonald House said it was experiencing “unprecedented fundraising challenges” and that it anticipates a €500,000 deficit for the year.

The first ever Ronald McDonald House opened in Philadelphia in 1974. Today there are 377 Houses around the world.

The Dublin house opened in 2004, and since then it has been home to over 4,200 families.

To raise awareness of the challenges that charities are facing, Noel is also planning a further December event, if he is permitted.

“If the restrictions are lifted, I am planning to climb Croagh Patrick on the first weekend of December,” he says.

“It’s not to raise money: it’s to raise awareness,” he says.

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