Movember taches growing on them at Mullingar Fire Station

A decade on from when they first took part in the Movember fundraiser, the crew at Mullingar Fire Station are doing it again, and the moustaches are coming on well at this stage.

Sub Officer Eric Smith, who is coordinating the effort with his colleague Sub Officer Robert Finnegan, explained to the Westmeath Examiner the background: “It’s the second time we’ve done this at Mullingar station. When we did it the first time, Movember was predominantly supporting men’s health charities, working on testicular and prostate cancers, and we had a mutual friend who had passed away through prostate cancer, so we decided to do something together, as a unit.”

The whole team at Mullingar station did it 10 years ago, and now, they’re embracing the challenge again. Eric said the use of social media is helping them to get the word out and the donations in and, “there’s not a lot of effort to growing a moustache when you think about it”.

Firefighters are not permitted to grow beards, for operational reasons (a beard could interfere with breathing apparatus, for example), but moustaches are allowed, he said.

“We’re doing quite well, everybody’s on board again (14 men). This time, the reason we said we’d go with it is to support a new organisation in Ireland, set up by a firefighting paramedic three years ago.

"She could see there was a need for mental health support for the emergency services, firefighters and paramedics, so she set up HUGS@Home, and that project is supported by Movember. It aims to help the firefighter, the paramedic, and their families.

“Post traumatic stress can be a problem for emergency workers, and by us doing Movember, we’re supporting that organisation, which is close to us.”

(On its website, HUGS@Home says it ‘empowers family members and friends of first responders to provide social support by raising awareness and teaching practical stress management skills. Training first responders’ loved ones in the elements of ‘HUGS’: Hearing, Understanding, Guiding, and Supporting can help reduce the impact of what first responders take ‘Home’ and enhance the wellbeing of first responders and their loved ones.)

Eric said that at the end of November the local firefighters will have a social night in Mullingar to mark the end of their fundraising, and hope to have a barber present to shave off all the moustaches.

Anyone who would like to donate can do so online at