A Brecon dispensing optician and three young school friends have braved the chop to fundraise for young cancer patients, raising nearly £2,000 in the process.

The mane event

Hannah Marshall, aged 13, David Heath, aged 12, Kelsey Shepherd, aged 12, and Kelsey’s mum, Hannah Shepherd, had their ponytails chopped off at Specsavers in Brecon by the store’s director and former hairdresser, Donna Like, in aid of the Little Princess Trust. Mrs Shepherd is a dispensing optician at the High Street store, and customers and staff had contributed generously to the Brecon High School pupils’ £1,855 total.

Each of the fundraisers donated between 10 and 18 inches of hair, which the Hereford-based charity will now get mixed into specialist wigs for children and young adults who have lost their hair due to illness, including cancer treatment. The money raised will also be donated to the charity, which also funds research into childhood cancers.

‘The support we received, in the build-up to the big chop and on the day, was phenomenal,’ says Mrs Shepherd. ‘When I found out about the charity, I immediately wanted to do something to help. Family, friends and Specsavers customers turned out in force at the store to cheer us on when the scissors came out. One of David’s relatives, who works at the local branch of Santander, even arranged for their employer to match the first £500 we raised.’

'Extremely proud'

The group also completed a 10km walk around Brecon that included Pen-y-Crug, known locally as The Crug, to boost their fundraising total.

‘I am extremely proud of the commitment all three children have shown to this humbling cause,’ Mrs Shepherd adds.

‘The walk was challenging, and I think we were all nervous about getting our hair cut, but any trepidation we felt pales in comparison with the challenges facing the children the Little Princess Trust supports. Knowing that spurred us on. We enjoyed the idea of helping them far more than we enjoyed our long hair.’

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