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Parling shares Beard of the Year

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Geoff Parling will end 2013 on a successful note after being crowned joint winner of Beard of the Year.

Parling received the accolade alongside the actor John Hurt and choirmaster Gareth Malone following the Beard of the Year poll, which attracted more than 10,000 votes.

He saw off competition from the likes of entertainer Russell Brand, TV presenter and journalist Jeremy Paxman and Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Eavis.

The Tigers, England and Lions lock, said: “It is a great honour for my facial foliage to receive this award.

"Rob Hawkins came in with a late push but fortunately the consistency of my beard throughout the whole year was what shone through.

"I might take a new direction in the early months of 2014 but I will always be impressed by facial topiary."

It is the latest title for Parling in a successful 2013. He collected an Aviva Premiership winners’ medal in May, was part of the victorious British & Irish Lions tour to Australia in the summer and was also voted joint Sexiest Beard of 2013 on Valentine’s Day alongside Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney.

Keith Flett, of the Beard Liberation Front, who organised the poll, said: “It might have been expected that new and high-profile beard wearers like Billy Bragg and Jeremy Paxman would do better.

“However from the hipster to the organic, 2013 has been a vintage year for beards and the three winners are worthy Ambassadors for the hirsute.”