Thompson to become a new man at fundraiser

Openings still available at bowl-a-thon


Published on April 20, 2017

Doug Thompson, owner/operator of King Pin Bowling in Amherst, adjusts some candlepin bowling pins in back of the bowling lanes. Thompson will shave his beard Saturday during the annual bowl-a-thon fundraiser. Money raised from shaving the beard goes to the VON and the Cumberland Health Care Foundation. Thompson says they are essential and indispensable organizations for Cumberland County. “The VON has more than 100 people helping in homes throughout Cumberland County, and everybody uses the hospital,” he said.

©Dave Mathieson - Amherst News

AMHERST – Doug Thompson’s 40-year-old beard is getting the chop.

“When we opened the bowling alley 40 years ago I shaved because I wanted to look like an entrepreneur,” said the 66-year-old. “It didn’t work, so I grew it back.”

My youngest boy, Dougy, has never seen me without a beard. He could be sitting at home and I could walk in the house and he’ll probably get a baseball bat and start trying to beat me up for breaking in.

Doug Thompson, owner/operator of King Pin Bowling.  

Thompson, owner/operator of King Pin Bowling in Amherst, is shaving his beard for charity at Saturday’s annual bowl-a-thon fundraiser.

“The actual bowl-a-thon fundraiser is for the VON (Victorian Order of Nurses) but shaving the beard is for the VON and the Cumberland Health Care Foundation, half and half,” said Thompson.

When Thompson shaved his beard 40 years ago it was the first time he shaved his beard in 10 years and nobody recognized him.

“I know people won’t recognize me because the last time I shaved 40 years ago, as long as I didn’t talk, I could walk up and stand beside somebody I hung around with and they didn’t know who I was because they didn’t see me before without a beard.”

Thompson has two grown boys.

“My youngest boy, Dougy, has never seen me without a beard,” said Thompson. “He could be sitting at home and I could walk in the house and he’ll probably get a baseball bat and start trying to beat me up for breaking in.”

Thompson even wonders if he’ll recognize himself.

“I might scare myself when I look in the mirror,” he said with a laugh. “There might be a double chin and god knows what else underneath there.”

His older boy, Troy, runs the bowling alley with his dad.

“I have a faint memory of him one time without a beard,” said Troy. “I’m not a fan of beards, so I think he should shave it and keep it shaved.”

Thompson says he hasn’t decided whether or not he will grow it back.

Thompson began growing a beard while serving in the Canadian Air Force and kept it when he made the jump to the Canadian Navy.

“I knew I wasn’t going to stay in the armed forces and I wanted to travel around the world, so I changed from the air force to the navy and got on ship and travelled around the world, and then I got out.”

While serving in the armed forces Thompson went from being a physical education instructor, to working in communications, and then being a signalman.

“For basic training you had to be clean shaven but once you got on ship, or wherever you were going, you could put a request form in for permission to grow a beard,” said Thompson. “They’d give you a certain amount of time to grow it. If you couldn’t grow a beard that came in full they would tell you shave it off.”

Thompson bowls this Saturday from 11:30 to 2 p.m., and then at 2 p.m. the shearing starts.

“That’s when I’m going to sit in a chair, and for a small donation I’ll let people do a little clip.”

If they raise more than $5,000 he will also shave his head.

“If they shave the head I’ll see if I can get donations from people who want to rub the head for good luck.”

There are still openings available for people to bowl Saturday. Time slots are every two and a half hours, at 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.

There will be 50/50 draws, door prizes, raffle tickets and a lotto ticket raffle tree.

“It’s open to everybody, so anybody who wants to come in, whether it’s one, two, or three people, or a team, come on in and help make money for the VON,” said Thompson.