THE manly ideals of a former age sprang back to life at Bancroft’s School in Woodford Green, as teachers paid a hairy tribute to their illustrious forbears.

Staff at the school in the High Road were sponsored to grow moustaches for the month-long Movember charity campaign.

As an impressive display of hair started to emerge, PE teacher Dominic Argyle was inspired to recreate the pose of former schoolmasters pictured in a photograph that has hung on the walls for more than a century.

But while the teachers easily managed the insouciant poses of the past, they were faced with a challenge when it came to finding a stand-in for the Reverend J Symms - the school’s headmaster between 1889 and 1906.

“He’s got a very big beard,” said Mr Argyle.

“Nobody could grow that much facial hair in one month, so we were a bit stumped.”

Enter current headteacher, Mary Ireland.

Speaking from behind her very large fake beard, she said: “I believe Reverend Symms would be encouraged to see that the staff is still composed of such fine upright young men and that the school is still open.”

Mr Argyle added: “The children will be voting for their favourite moustache and donating to the cause, but I won’t be keeping my facial hair when the month ends –it’s a bit itchy and my wife won’t come near me!”

Whether the latest photo takes pride of place in the staffroom beside the old one has yet to be decided.

• To find out more about Movember, visit