A MEMBER of staff from a Ludlow optician has chopped off her locks for the Little Princess Trust, a charity that provides real hair wigs to children who’ve lost their hair through cancer and other illnesses.

Julia Bailey, an optical assistant from Specsavers on the Bull Ring, had her hair cut by Buck and Bear Barbershop.

She donated 16 inches to the children’s cancer charity and raised £416 for Hereford and Worcester Animal Rescue through sponsorship.

One of the many distressing consequences of a cancer diagnosis is the serious side effects of some of the treatments.

Perhaps one of the most difficult of these is hair loss that can follow from chemotherapy.

These powerful and highly toxic drugs work by attacking rapidly growing cells. This includes the cancer cells but other cells such as the hair.

The Little Princess Trust was founded 13 years ago in 2006 to help to provide a natural answer to hair loss.

It has a trusted network of salons, and wigs are fitted at an approved salon closest to where the patient lives.

The Trust starts by matching as closely as possible to the natural hair colour. Because it’s real hair, the wig can be cut, curled, or straightened to match an original look — or to create a new style.

In 2016, thanks to the huge efforts of fundraisers, the trust was able to begin funding academics and organisations involved in researching the causes of paediatric cancer.

Providing free real hair wigs is at the heart of what the trust does, but it also wants to support the development of less aggressive and less toxic cancer treatments.

Hair loss can have a huge impact on people and how they feel about themselves especially at a time when they are feeling unwell and their confidence is low.

“I’ve had long hair for a while, so going for the chop was quite scary,” said Julia.

“I’m really pleased to have donated 16 inches, which is more than double the minimum length required. It does feel strange to have such short hair, but it will grow, and I’m just pleased to have helped two amazing charities.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has sponsored me already. I’m still collecting donations in-store, so it would be fantastic to see my fundraising total rise further.’

Make a donation by popping into the store at 33 Bull Ring in Ludlow, or visiting her fundraising page at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/julia-bailey-hwar