By Charles Wade-Palmer
A man who has not cut his dreadlocks for 13 years is braving the shave for his ill dad.
Joe Barber, 31, has spent all his adult life with dreadlocks which now cover 4 ft 2 of his 5 ft 10 frame and have a hair span of 78 inches when two locks are held in opposite directions.
The water supply office worker has taken the plunge to have his locks chopped this month for charity and to back his 78-year-old dad undergoing chemotherapy.
Joe is looking forward to a life without daily problems his 50 inch dreadlocks can throw up like getting it trapped in the car door.
Joe said: “It’s been 13 years since I last cut my hair went I was about 17 or 18 so making that choice was beyond my parents’ reach but they were fine with it.
“It’s the very mundane things which can be a problem which such long dreadlocks like getting into a car.
“I have to make sure it’s not tailing behind and swept out the car door when I close it.
“I have to plan when to get it wet well ahead because it takes about eight hours to dry so even in the rain I need to be extra careful. There are a lot of issues that come with the hairstyle.”
Shorn of the dread for Joe whose hair has never stopped growing and seen him through his graduation and wedding day, comes on August 24.
Barber, 31, from Birmingham is shaving off his pride and joy to support his marathon running 78-year-old dad Graham who is losing his hair from treatment to prostate cancer.
Joe said: “I’m now getting it cut because my dad has been diagnosed with prostate cancer but it’s metastatic which means it’s moved across to his bones.
“He’s now undergoing chemotherapy so as a result his hair which he’s always been quite fond of is starting to thin out.
“Because my parents live in Cornwall there’s not a lot I can do in way of support but by cutting mine off it’s a way of showing solidarity.”
Joe has already raised £1,000 worth of pledges after thinking he would be lucky to manage £250 and he hopes to get more cash for charity by selling his dreads to a film studio.
The 50-inch dreadlocks which are the same height as the famously hairy Cousin Itt from the Addams family have made Joe an unforgettable face since his teens.
Joe said: “I don’t really suit short hair so after years of letting it grow long and cutting it I decided to lock it up to stop me cutting it over and over again.
“I was into ska music and skate rock music which would have influenced my decision to get dreads.
“It’s just one of those things and it’s something which changes it’s not like tattoos or piercings it’s nothing permanent even though it’s ended up being that way.
“I used to work in retail for about 13 years and my hair used to be quite the ice breaker with customers who would recognised me years later at different stores.
“My hair is so eye-catching that even when I took my current office job my new colleagues remembered me from my time behind the till.
“I think my wife is more excited than nervous about the trim.
“I remember her saying when we first got together that my hair was never to go below my waist and it obviously has done so she is looking forward to it going.”