A community activist is to raise money in the wake of World Polio Day this week - by shaving off his hair, beard and the moustache he has had for 52 years.

Dr Manoj Joshi DL has supported many social causes over the years, promoting community cohesion as well as advocating for improvements to social care services and education.

He is currently the immediate past district governor for Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland and the chairman of governors at Bradford Academy.

Dr Joshi, 68, has had his moustache since he was 16, and with World Polio Day being marked this Saturday, he has decided to shave his hair, beard and tash to raise money for the Rotary Foundation's End Polio Now campaign.

He has also dyed his facial hair purple ahead of the big shave, with the significance of this being that when a child receives polio drops on mass polio immunisation days, their little finger is painted with a purple dye, so it is clear they have received their polio vaccine.

Bradford city centre, as well as other parts of West Yorkshire, will be lit up in purple lights on Saturday too, Dr Joshi says.

Rotary is working to end polio, which is a serious viral infection which can be life-threatening. In August, the World Health Organisation certified that the African continent was free from wild polio, and now Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries where polio is still classified as endemic.

Dr Joshi - who has been a Rotarian for 37 years and claims that he was the first South Asian member of any Rotary Club in Yorkshire - said: "We’re proud to be marking World Polio Day and recognising the work of Rotary, our partners and the millions of people involved in the fight for a polio-free world.

“We have seen how we need to work together when dealing with COVID-19 and we can all play our part. Rotarians in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire remain committed to working with our communities and our partners to eliminate this potentially deadly virus.”

"I have had a lot of endorsement and support locally in my fundraising efforts, including from Mr Younis of Regal PLC, who has made a special purple madeira cake for the occasion.

"With polio present in Pakistan, it's also important that we show solidarity with the Pakistani community here in Bradford and West Yorkshire through this.

"We need to promote Rotary's work because across the world, we are fighting hunger, health problems, discrimination and other areas of concern.

"Small steps locally can have a global impact, and Rotarians do good in the world wherever they are.

"It's also important to have fun and give people something to laugh about, especially during COVID times, with all the doom and gloom."

Dr Joshi admitted that he is nervous ahead of the shave, as no one has seen him without his moustache for over half a century.

"It's a big deal for me, because my moustache is 52-years-old - nobody has seen me without it!", he said.

"So, I'm anxious about the big shave, but it's all to raise both funds and awareness."

Dr Joshi's fundraiser is online, on Virgin Money Giving, where it can be found by searching 'Dr Manoj Joshi DL'. He can also be contacted on 07723044247.