Regular manicuring of his famous lamb chops became such sheer toil for Councillor Michael Ormerod, he has shaved them off and is showing his bare face around town for the first time in 30 years.

The Labour councillor for South Park and Woodhatch would have shaved off his distinctive beard much sooner, were it not for the need to be recognised while canvassing for this year’s local elections.

“I’ve been thinking for a couple of years now, that I’d probably get rid of them,” the 64-year-old said. “I was standing for election this May, and I thought it was important for people to recognise me on the doorstep.

“If I win, I thought, I can celebrate by getting rid of it, and equally if I lose, I can celebrate my release from council duties by shaving it off.” The Wray Park Road resident held his seat and the chops came off the day after the May 1 election. But he has only just unveiled the new look as shortly after that he jetted off to Uraguay and then Berlin.

Besides being a councillor since 1975 and a life-long member of the Labour Party, he is also leader of the borough’s Labour group and an academic doctor specialising in molecular biology.

His overseas trips were to lecture on flow cytometry, a specialist technique for measuring blood and cancer cells.

But does he miss his trademark lamb chops?

“People tell me that I look younger and I tell them it’s nice having something you can do to make you look younger.

“But I must admit, having seen the before pictures, I do prefer myself with them,” he added.