Carl Hester has raised more than £2,000 for a bowel cancer charity by growing a beard.

The dressage star, who won the FEI World Cup grand prix freestyle at Olympia with Nip Tuck last month, took part in Beating Bowel Cancer’s “Decembeard” campaign.

This calls for men to stop shaving in December in a bid to raise money for those affected by the disease.

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On Friday (8 January), the total on his JustGiving page was £2,244.66 from 100 donations.

Carl told H&H he was “delighted” with the amount raised.

“At this time of year you don’t expect people to be able to be at their most giving as they have so much else on,” he said.

He added the beard raised a few comments, but when he explained the reason why he was growing it “it stopped people being too mean”.

Eight years ago, some small growths were found in the Olympic gold medallist’s bowel.

They were removed and he now has annual check-ups.

“The realisation of how serious it could have been hit me,” said Carl in November. “Even though it wasn’t cancer, it was very emotional and traumatic time of my life.”

Bowel cancer is the UK’s fourth most common cancer.

More than 41,000 people are diagnosed with the disease annually, but if caught early more than 90% of cases can be treated successfully.

It is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK and each year around 16,000 people die from it.

Carl said he would “of course” take part in “Decembeard” again.

“Just from having a bit of hair on my face I have raised more than £2,000,” he said.“It is a very easy way of raising money.”

He added that many of those who have given money are people whose own lives have been affected by the condition.

Beating Bowel Cancer is a support and campaigning charity for everyone affected by the condition.

Get more information about bowel cancer symptoms and the campaign.