North East Connected

Haircuts for Darlington pupils help young cancer patients

THREE pupils and a teacher at a North-East school have lost their luscious locks in memory of loved ones.

Polam Hall School students Teagan Ansell, Erin Partridge, and Jack Gilroy were joined by head of art Kathryn Dawson to have their hair made into wigs for young cancer patients.

Teagan, 11, had her long hair cut in memory of her auntie Donna Marriott, who died in 2017.

“Auntie Donna was very upset when she got ill and started to lose her hair. I wanted to help, but my hair wasn’t long enough then. Now it is, and I want to help someone who is going through the same thing,” said Teagan.

Teagan’s dad, Anthony said: “Teagan left it until the night before to tell her mum and me that she was going to have her hair cut off at school. I wasn’t happy, and I told her there was no way that was happening. But she explained why she wanted to do it, and she talked us round.”

Mr Ansell made an appeal on Facebook, asking people to support Teagan’s fundraising. He said: “We were amazed. We asked people if they would consider making a small donation, and in just a day Teagan raised £280. We’re just so, so proud of her.”

Together, the group have raised nearly £400. The hair and the money will be donated to The Little Princess Trust, a charity dedicated to providing real-hair wigs for children coping with hair loss, often as a result of chemotherapy.

The event was organised by Interact, a group of Polam students and staff dedicated to supporting good causes.

Sixth-former Jack Gilroy, who lost his nine-year-old nephew Mark to cancer, said: “Mark never seemed all that fussed about losing his hair, but a lot of the kids on his ward got very upset. I just want to make sure a child somewhere who needs a wig can get one.”

Fellow sixth form student Erin Partridge donated her long hair after learning about what Mark had gone through: “I’ve been very lucky in that I haven’t lost anyone I love to cancer. I can’t imagine how it must feel for people to have to deal with both a terrible illness and losing their hair. Hopefully, my hair will help someone cope and feel pretty again.”

The longest hair among the four belonged to art teacher Kathryn Dawson, who said: “Hair is a part of our identity, and when we lose it, it can feel like we’re losing part of who we are. My son-in-law lost his little sister to cancer, and I hope this helps someone in the same situation as she was.

“I’m glad I’m doing this now, because if I leave it much longer, someone will be getting a grey wig!”

Head teacher Kate Reid said: “I’m very proud of these three students, and of Mrs Dawson too. They’ve done a very kind and thoughtful thing, and I have to say, their new hair-dos look rather stylish!”

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