Winning by a whisker
Steve Parsons, crowned world champion in the English moustache category in Berlin
(Picture: Paul Dennis pd897959)
An Englishman entered the lion's den of facial hair and emerged twitching but triumphant.
Steve Parsons, 39, donned full crickerter's attire and carried a bat through the streets of Berlin at the World Beard and Moustache Championships.
His impressive straightened take on the traditional handlebar moustache was good enough to win him the English-style category at the first attempt.
He is the first Englishman to hold the title.
Steve, of Riverside Court, Canterbury, said: "I went along for a bit of fun and didn't expect to win at all.
"Being the first Englishman to win the English catergory is a big plus for me and my fellow moustache growers.
"It was particularly sweet to beat the Germans in their own back yard. You could say the trophy has come home at last.
"I get funny looks around Canterbury but in Berlin it was pretty much business as normal.
"There is a lot of dressing up at the event and most of the entrants in my category wore bowler hats and pinstripe suits. The cricket thing was just something I decided to do late in the day."
Steve spent 30 minutes preparing his moustache and joined about 240 contestants across 17 style categories from Wild West to Dali.
He has sported a moustache in various guises for 10 years and is one of over 100 members of the Handlebar Moustache Club who meet at the Windsor Castle pub in Edgware Road, London, once a month.
A fellow club member from Sussex was the only other Englishman to win in Berlin, emerging victorious in a beard category.
Both will get the chance to defend their titles on home turf when the Handlebar Club hosts the next world championships in Brighton in 2007.