Community weighs in to put crowning glory on Marianne's 'hair-raiser'
Marianne getiing the first few snips
THERE were tears in New Mossley at the weekend but woman-of-the-hour Marianne Hales was all smiles as her waist-length tresses were chopped off for charity.
The altruistic 35 year old, who has Down's Syndrome, donated 22 inches of her her hair to the Little Princess Trust – a charity which makes real-hair wigs for children who have lost their hair during treatment for cancer.
Her generous act has also raised thousands of pounds in sponsorship for CLIC Sargent's 'Homes from Home' appeal – a £3.7m project to provide accommodation for children undergoing chemotherapy at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and Belfast City Hospital.
Marianne's mother, Anne Hales has worked tirelessly on her daughter's behalf, contacting newspapers and television networks across the province to make the fundraiser a success.
Speaking after Marianne's haircut on Saturday, Anne said the event was bigger, better and more emotional than anyone expected: "It was great. Marianne did so well and more than 100 people turned up to lend their support. Her hair is short but it looks lovely."
Explaining that her daughter overcame the nerves that had been building in the run-up to the event, Anne said: "Marianne was worried before the day, but it ended up that she was the only one who didn't cry. She just had a big smile on her face the whole way through."
A still emotional Anne said she couldn't be more proud of her daughter: "I made a speech and when I got to the bit about donating for children I burst into tears. It was so emotional to know that she was doing something so selfless for charity in front of so many people she knew, just to try to make a child happy."
Marianne has become something of a local celebrity, with people stopping her in the street to commend her as well as handing over donations.
"Everyone is telling her how gorgeous her new haircut is," Anne explained, adding: "She's walking around with a big beaming smile on her face. She's just delighted with life."
Marianne said she likes her new hairstyle, but admitted it is taking a bit of getting used to: "I keep getting a surprise when I see myself in the mirror and my head feels much lighter."
Donations are still pouring in, smashing Marianne's £1000 fundraising target.
"We're already at the £2000 mark and people who have recognised Marianne from the papers and TV keep coming up to us in the street and giving us money," Anne said.
Thanking everyone for their generosity and support, Anne particularly wants to thank New Mossley residents for their "fantastic" community spirit.
"When an event is on like this the generosity is second to none, everyone pulls together. More than £800 came out of the estate alone – people were running down the street with fivers and tenners after us. It has been amazing."
You can still make a donation to Marianne's fundraising page. Visit: www.justgiving.com/mariannehaircut