DAD of five Derek White, who has shaved his head for nearly three decades, is growing his hair for a year to raise funds for a special needs school.

Mr White, 41, is well-known for his shaved head, which also bears a large tattoo of his daughter’s initials, having saved up from his paper round to buy a pair of hair clippers as a 14-year-old aspiring skinhead.

However, in an unusual twist on the traditional charity head shave, he has started growing back his ginger locks to raise funds for Linwood School, where his autistic son Carter is a pupil.

“I am 100 per cent up for this – I’m not fit enough to swim the Channel but no one has ever seen me with long curls,” he said.

“I only stopped shaving a couple of days ago but already it is longer than I would normally have it. When I can pull it that will be strange. It is going to be a bit of a change but I am not going to let my boy down.

“I am getting the mickey taken out of me by my mates who think it’s very comical because I’m ginger and wear glasses but they are the ones who have said they will pitch in the most.”

Mr White, who lives in Lincoln Avenue, Bournemouth, with his wife Wendy and their family, said he has no plans to style his hair as it grows, although his children have offered to braid it. He expects to have a good head of hair by the time it all comes off next year.

“I have always thought hair was overrated with all that time spent looking in the mirror,” he added.

“But that will be me now.”

Mrs White, who has just started working as a governor at the school, said the money raised would go towards extracurricular activities for pupils, and moving the autism unit to a different site.

She said: “These activities are amazingly important, it makes such a difference for the children to have new experiences, and they are all funded by donations.

“Carter went horseriding the other day, he has been doing it for three months, and it was wonderful seeing him riding and listening and responding, doing things other children do all the time.

“It is an amazing school and he is doing really well there.”

She added: “I’ve never seen Derek with hair so it is going to be strange, but it is something a bit different.”