East London football fan shaves chest and back for England
A footy-mad scaffolder will roar the Three Lions on in the World Cup by visiting pubs and revealing an England flag – shaved into his chest hair.
West Ham fan Alfie Callagher-Roberts, 25, shaved his chest hair into the shape of the St George’s cross and dyed it red ahead of England’s first game against Iran on Monday.
Alfie, who hit the headlines during Euro 2020 with his patriotic personal sculpting after he couldn’t find an England shirt, will visit pubs with his flag proudly on display.
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He said: “Football’s definitely coming home. But if it doesn’t, we’re going to have a good time hoping it does.”
But the cheery construction worker is hoping to spread a serious message as well as fun during his World Cup antics.
He’s hoping to raise awareness of the charity Construction Sport, which aims to tackle the spiraling suicide rates within the industry through using exercise as vehicle to get men to open up about their feelings.
His boss Paul Casey, who owns PDC Scaffolding, is a major sponsor of the charity and they often take each other on in five-a-side football matches.
The charity was set up by groundworker Steve Kerslake, who wants to change the way the industry deals with the mental health of its workers.
Government figures show there is a higher rate of suicide among men working in construction than any other industry – at an alarming rate of almost two suicides per working day.
Alfie, from East London, said: “I did it as a joke before and it is a bit of fun, but I am hoping to raise awareness of mental health issues in construction.
“I want to raise awareness that there are charities out there that people can talk to and encourage people to take up sport.
“While we’re all singing ‘It’s coming home’, we need to do our part to make sure they come home.”
Alfie and his workmates recently featured in a BBC documentary along with Steve highlighting the work the charity does in breaking the stigma of mental health on site.
Steve said he found that by introducing a football to a group of construction workers, it immediately created a common ground where conversation could start.
Alfie added: “In scaffolding, we’re in the van together for a long time, we’re all on first-name terms, we know each other, it’s a bit easier to open up.
“On construction sites with 50 other blokes, it’s not as easy. Steve’s doing a really good thing to try change that and I’m trying to help spread that message.
“I’ll be watching the games with top off and going around with Three Lions blaring out of my van as world cup fever starts to take grip.
“If someone comes and sees me in the pub with my top off, they might ask what that’s all about and I can tell them. It’s about creating that conversation, like what Steve is doing.”
Alfie will be documenting his World Cup antics at www.tiktok.com/@thefurryfootballfan.
Visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/world-cup-antics-fund? to donate to his cause.