FROM outrageous moustaches to world-beating mutton chops, beards of all shapes and sizes converged on Oxford for a day of fuzzy fun.

Fierce but friendly competition raged at the Tap Social Movement in North Hinksey on Saturday as beard-lovers from across the country battled it out in the fourth annual Oxford Beard Festival.

Well-groomed participants went head to head in hotly contested categories including biggest beard, favourite bearded character and least mess in a beard after eating the messiest food.

One of those taking part, Nick Waghorn, who lives in St Clements and works at Oxford University, was attending his third festival and had entered his huge handlebar moustache in the aptly named curliest moustache category.

The 35-year-old said: “I’m a philosopher so facial hair goes with the territory really, it’s almost frowned upon not to have any.

“It takes about an hour to do it properly so I only bother once a week when I go out. The rest of the time I leave it flat.

“I won the first time I was here but my hair spray let me down last year so I’m now using extra strength stuff.

“I try to take the loses philosophically as is my profession but it does get a bit competitive.”

The mother and daughter team behind the festival, Sue Higgins and Faith King from Long Wittenham, have been touring the UK in the run up to the event and their networking paid off with some of the beard world’s biggest names coming to Oxford.

Michael Wallage from Ripley in Derbyshire has just been named world champion at the biannual world mutton chops championships in Texas, United States.

The 57-year-old first started competitive facial hair growing after a traffic accident 13 years ago left him unable to take part in his first love of body building.

He said: “It’s not the same intensity and we don’t take ourselves quite as seriously.

“But this honestly saved my life after I was so depressed - it filled the void.

“Some of us are doctors and lawyers, we have all walks of life come along but it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from, we’re one big beard family.”

All proceeds from the festival will be donated to the Oxford Food Bank to support their work redistributing surplus food from supermarkets to local charities.

Operations Manager Cathy Howard said: “We’ve never had a more glamorous event raising money for us.

“It’s brought smiles to our faces anyway.

“With every £1 donation we can give £20 worth of food to charities and we need a new van so it all goes a long way.”