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  When Only A Crop Will Do
by POSY Dean Russell

It is surprising what can be formulated over a meal when the topic of children in need is mentioned. The Petty Officers mess onboard HMAS SYDNEY (CMDR Simon Cullen) whilst ashore in Darwin town prior to deploying for East Timor, were discussing what the conditions in East Timor would be like and some of the ways to avoid discomfort while in the area.

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Spinning them with the Gurkhas. Pic: CPOET Hunton
POCSS 'Skins' Forsyth get his head shaved by ABCSO Neech.
Pic: POSY Russell
Hence the creation of "CROP-A-TOP" where volunteers from the ships company were sort to offer their most prized possession, "THEIR HAIR" for charity.

Eight members, all brave although apprehensive in their actions came forward, LCDR Andrew Lewis (SO), LCDR Mark Purcell (WEEO), LEUT Evan Murphett (DMEO), LEUT Michael Harris (DO), Chaplain Mark Walbank, LEUT Bruce Willington (Pilot), POWTR Karyn Read and POCSS Rob Forsyth.
Spinning them with the Gurkhas. Pic: CPOET Hunton
The Commanding Officer's secretary POWTR Karyn Read before....
....and after
Pics: POSY Russell

Despite the outcome of the finishing touches, each volunteer took to their new hair do, or lack of it, in their stride.

Each head was raffled individually giving eight separate winners drawn by the Commanding Officer the opportunity to do the cropping. Ticket sales took off with the POWTR being by far the most popular choice, followed closely by the DMEO. Some victims received the news first hand, others by a more direct method, radio. That being LEUT Willington who was at the time flying the ship's helo was advised shortly before returning onboard that the person who had won the honour to crop him was in fact the aircraft's SENSO, LEUT Pavillard.

The sale of raffle tickets and donations by some of the heads of departments managed to raise just under $600.00 which will be sent to the ships charity the Ashfields Childrens Home in time for Christmas.