JOKES about nesting birds flew as a young Tetbury man said goodbye to his unruly barnet and raised more than £1,600 for ex-army combat medic Katrina Brown’s urgent appeal for lifesaving treatment.
Olly Robins, 19, who works at the Horse and Groom in Charlton, was often teased by regulars about his tangle of curly locks.
But he turned the banter round to help Katrina, who was exposed to depleted uranium while serving in Iraq and is now suffering from a terminal condition called systemic sclerosis for which she has been denied treatment in the UK on the NHS.
She was there on Saturday as a variety of customers wielded the clippers over his head, prompting one couple from the village to add £1,000 to the pot.
“It was incredible,” said Katrina. “We had a lovely day. Even if we hadn’t had the £1,000 donation, £600 would have been a lot for a headshave.”
She added that after seeing pictures of the afternoon on Facebook the nine-year-old son of one of her supporters in York had decided to do the same as Olly.
The success of the event means that if the expected amount of pledged money comes in she will be only £4,500 away from her target.
And in an unexpected boost, when she does take off for Chicago on March 24 to start her treatment, it will be first class all the way.
A tour manager who organises international transport for some of the biggest bands, heard her story and arranged for her and Martin to be upgraded.
“They will even come to the house and pick up our luggage and we get a bed each,” she said. The couple made the journey back in October when Katrina underwent tests to decide if she was still fit enough to cope with the procedure.
“When we flew back before Charlie let me lay across him while he sat upright all the way.”
It means she will arrive in better shape for the start of her 11 weeks of treatment.
Olly said: “I decided to do it because one of the locals made a joke that he was going to cut it off with sheep shears. We talked about doing it for charity and I decided on Katrina because I’d read about her in the Standard.
“It was lovely to meet her on Saturday and I’m really pleased we managed to raise so much for her.”
Anyone who wants to donate can visit katrinasfuture.org