In a bid to raise money for the installation of the new organ, Fr Peter subjected his beard to a vote of parishioners during the month of June. Should it stay or should it go? Ballot papers were on sale for £2 offering three options: full beard; no beard and half-beard (goatee and moustache), with Fr Peter undertaking to comply with whatever got the most votes for at least the next two months. Since it was an exercise in fundraising, not in democracy, no limit was placed on the number of ballot papers an individual could buy. One parishioner was believed to have bought twenty ballots , while another splashed out on twenty-five (it is believed they were on opposing sides of the debate).
The ballot box remained sealed for several weeks when the voting was going on, so nobody knew which way it would go. Then after the 10.45 Mass on Sunday 7th July, the box was unsealed and the votes were counted in front of parishioners during the usual after-Mass tea and coffee. Fr Peter stood by with a pair of clippers so that the will of the people could be put immediately into action if the vote went that way.
No beard: 84
Full beard: 107
So, the beard stays! And approximately £600 was raised for the organ fund.