Movember is just the thing for the willing volunteer

English actor David Niven had a perfect moustache which would have fitted in with Movember (Picture:

English actor David Niven had a perfect moustache which would have fitted in with Movember (Picture: PA) - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Do you volunteer? I often imagine it must be an enjoyable thing to do. I once helped out at a charity shop in Sudbury - well sort of, I was writing a story about it really – and it seemed to involve a lot of ironing.

Anyway my Dad, over a weekend roast, mentioned he might like to volunteer for something this winter, though he was quite vague about exactly what. My Mother thought it might be a good idea and suggested that he could begin by volunteering to put up a picture that has been awaiting his attention for the last two years.

I think he decided to think about it instead, what with the dark nights.

But November is all about dark nights and colder weather is it? There's toffee apples and bonfires and – so I have discovered – moustaches. Have you noticed all these young, and indeed some older, men growing moustaches?

I spotted a number around the ancient medieval town of Bury St Edmunds when I left, the other lunchtime, what my colleagues and I call the West Suffolk bureau, to get a cheese and coleslaw bap, no butter.

I might be a journalist but I never really know what's going on, do you?

I've never followed trends, I don't know anything about sport or pop music – always an issue pub quiz-wise, and I couldn't tell you who's in and who's out on Strictly Come Dancing or even the names of the presenters as they all seem to be the same sort of woman – loud, northern and with nice hair – since Bruce, God rest his soul, went to the eternal TV studio in the sky. This is thus, therefore and why I had to ask a colleague about these moustaches I've been spotting. Apparently it's nothing to do with Murder On The Orient Express – for some reason I had got it in my mind that the moustaches were some sort of cultural homage to Hercules Poirot – but because of something called Movember. And, even worse, it's been going on for years.

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It's all about men's health and raising awareness – I assume that men can have health issues – and encourage men like me to walk around a bit more and check various parts of my body, though not necessarily at the same time.

According to the Movember Foundation it's a good idea to set a goal and improve physical fitness and growing a moustache has something to do with it.

The foundation suggests it might be an idea to swim 31 miles – I've ruled it out as it would make my hands go wrinkly – or walk, run or cycle 210 miles, 7 miles a day for a month, which might be ok if it were all down hill.

But as for running I haven't got the right kind of knees and, let's be honest, Lycra doesn't suit the fuller figure.

Nonetheless, I think it might be an idea to walk a bit more. It doesn't require a special outfit and I learnt how to do it years ago. So I've discovered, and it's taken some years I admit, that on my mobile telephone it is possible to monitor how many steps you walk in a day. In the full knowledge I'm not going to walk 210 miles this side of Quinquagesima Sunday let alone a month, I'm aiming for 10,000 a day, steps that is, not rests.

But even this is easier said than done. I keep getting to that stage in the day when it's nice to sit down to discover I am several thousands short which means I have put on a hoody, turn out and walk around the block making me look like I am up to no good.

Some days are better than others and though I moved my average from 4,552 to 8,751 a day over the last week or two there is still some way to go. One day, I managed 359 steps which means I must have gone to the fridge a few times and little else – it was probably a Saturday and I like to watch a Columbo once I've done my chores, don't you?

Anyway, that's enough about me – what is your fitness regime? Can you offer any advice to those who can't bear going anywhere ghastly like a gym? Any sort of fitness regime is tricky isn't it, what with these drive through restaurants all over the place and the ready availability of sausage rolls and gala pie?

No wonder people are growing moustaches – it's much easier.