A TEENAGER who started growing his hair long in lockdown has raised more than £700 for charity after having his curly red locks cut off on stage.
Jamie Tabor, 15, braved the big chop in front of a packed school assembly hall, to loud applause from students and staff. (See photo gallery, below)
He decided to go to extreme lengths, he explained, to support Ripon Grammar School’s Charity Week cause, WaterAid, which campaigns for clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene worldwide.
The teenager from Ripon, is also donating the 12-inch-plus lengths of hair he had cut off to The Little Princess Trust, a charity which makes wigs for children with cancer.
Jamie had been growing his lengthy mane for exactly two years, two months and 12 days - the last time he visited his barber before lockdown – he said.
The Ripon Cathedral choral scholar, who has recently been picked to play the title role in Ripon Youth Theatre’s upcoming production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, explained: “Classmates in my form suggested it when we were discussing how to raise money for the charity, and I thought it might be a good idea. It’s probably time.”
Hairdresser Dan Eastham agreed to travel to school to cut Jamie’s hair for free, while his colleague Mark Barrett prepared Jamie’s hair at their salon beforehand: “We are more than happy to give our time for such a good cause as WaterAid, and we do a lot of work with The Little Princess Trust too,” said Dan, of Wilson & Bailey in Ripon.
He added: “I was a bit jealous. I would have loved to have had hair that colour and thickness.”
Jamie’s mother Helen Tabor said she was very proud: “My Hoover, bath plughole and I would like to express our delight in Jamie’s decision to do this and we’d like to thank everyone who has donated.”
Jamie, who has already raised more than £500 above his target of £200, added: “Water is taken for granted and life can be incredibly difficult without easy access to it. If something I can do will help someone, I’m all for it.
“And cancer is such a horrific thing to go through, if something from me can make it even slightly better, it’s worth it.”
Pupils and staff at RGS throw themselves into raising thousands of pounds for a good cause during Charity Week every year, with events including dance battles, a staff rock band concert, sumo wrestling and a pantomime.
Head girl Aleena Allen said: “We are hoping to inspire everyone in the local community by supporting a charity that reflects the struggles children our age face throughout the world and show that we can help, wherever we live.”
Head boy Adam Carpenter added: "We chose WaterAid because we wanted our money to go towards something tangible such as a well. We also feel the problem of a lack of clean water is one which needs addressing immediately. Access to clean water is something we take for granted in the developed world."
Year 11 student Jamie, who sings in school choirs and plays piano up to Grade 7, in addition to being a keen badminton player, hopes to study mathematics at university when he leaves RGS.
To support Jamie’s fundraising haircut, visit:Helen Tabor is fundraising for WaterAid (justgiving.com)