Ian Carlin, an eCommerce Manager for AXA Insurance, has spent the past year growing his hair in preparation for the challenge, which will see him dye his locks purple and don a yellow mask to complete the look before having his hair shaved. Ian was inspired to support AXA’s chosen charity as a cause close to his heart, having lost his father to Alzheimer’s disease six years ago.
Staff from AXA Insurance have been raising money as part of a three-year partnership with the UK’s leading dementia research charity that began in April 2015. Employees from the firm’s head office and network of regional offices have already raised over £135,000 towards their £250,000 target with a range of fundraising challenges, and it’s hoped that Ian’s makeover will boost the total even further.
Ian’s transformation into the villainous cartoon character is due to take place on Friday 5 August at AXA’s Glasgow office, and he has also recruited a colleague to wield the hair clippers while dressed as Mr Burns’ sidekick Smithers.
“The seeds of the challenge were sown when my family attended a function last year where Martin Barre, the guitarist from Jethro Tull, played. We noticed quite a few ageing rockers in the audience and I mentioned that I’d had long hair in days long past – so my daughter Nicola, who also works for AXA, challenged me to grow it for charity. I’m already known as Mr Burns to some people in the office, so we hatched a challenge where I would grow my hair for a year and then be made up with dyed purple hair, yellow skin and liver spots, and have whatever hair I’d grown shaved off.
“I’m 56 and fairly bald now, so normally what hair I have is left cropped short – since it started to get scruffier I’ve definitely had a few puzzled looks from people! My wife threatened to not go on holiday with me and I’m sure some people thought I was having a mid-life crisis. My ponytail is now about six inches long, and to tell the truth I can’t wait to get rid of it.”
“Alzheimer’s Research UK is our charity partner at work but it’s also a cause close to my heart, as I’ve seen the impact of dementia on my own family. My dad had Alzheimer’s disease and although he passed away in 2010, it felt like we lost him years before that. I could hardly bear to see the way he deteriorated, and it had an impact on the whole family: Dad always doted on his two grandchildren, and he was married to my mum for almost 60 years – she still misses him terribly. This challenge is my way of supporting dementia research – I might not be able to do a bungee jump or run a marathon, but I hope to raise as much as I can.”
Vicky Naylor, Corporate Partnerships Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, said:
“Most people wouldn’t relish the thought of working alongside Montgomery Burns, but I’m sure Ian’s makeover will be a hit with his colleagues! We’re hugely grateful for his support – the money raised through this challenge will help to fund vital resources and equipment for our scientists, bringing new treatments and preventions for dementia ever closer. With 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, including over 6,000 in Glasgow alone, research into the condition has never been more urgent. We rely on the public to be able to fund our pioneering research, and it’s thanks to the support of people like Ian and his colleagues at AXA that we’re able to continue our work.”
To sponsor Ian, visit www.tinyurl.com/mrburnschallenge or to learn more about Alzheimer’s Research UK’s work, visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org or call 0300 111 5555