BEFORE & AFTER: Thomas Newton shaved his beard and hair on Saturday to raise funds for Emerge Youth. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Thomas’ big transformation

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Thomas Newton says he felt lighter and colder after he underwent a radical transformation on Saturday.

The 30-year-old shaved his hair and beard to raise funds for youth group, Emerge Youth, to go to the Arise Conference in Wellington later this year.

Thomas had been growing his hair for over three years.

“I kind of got told I was doing it, I’m really going to miss it,” says Thomas.

Nelson barber Chics & Chaps agreed to shave Thomas clean for the ‘Cut for a Cause’ fundraiser.

Tom and Kelsey Bate from Emerge Youth Group convinced Thomas in February to lose his luscious locks as a fundraising campaign to take a group of 50 youths to the Christian conference.

Thomas says, while he will miss the beard, he is looking forward to again having no food restrictions.

“I’ll be able to drink soups again and not carry around a massive pile of napkins.”

In total, Thomas raised $1664.50 through his campaign.

“I said I wouldn’t do it for less than $1500.”

Money raised will be put towards travel and accommodation costs for the Wellington trip.

Thomas’ hairy appearance meant he was called a few names including Jesus, Moses and Santa.

He was even recruited as a homeless man for an advertisement.

“Speedy Print needed someone who looked homeless to hold a sign and I also got cast as the beggar in Fiddler and the Roof.”

The 2018 Arise Conference will take place from July 19-21 July at the TSB Arena in Wellington.