THE reopening of hairdressing salons, closed for months due to the lockdown, has been welcomed by many – including schoolgirl Eva Bell, who has a very special appointment booked.
The kind-hearted 12-year-old is raising money for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity’s Big Neonatal Appeal by having her long locks cut.
The Charity is part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and the Big Neonatal Appeal is aiming to raise more than £1 million to create extended accommodation for parents to stay close to their babies at the Trust’s neonatal unit, based at Bradford Royal Infirmary.
Eva, who lives in Gilstead and is a pupil of Beckfoot School, Bingley, was inspired to fund-raise for the unit after it cared for twins born to family friends, Ben and Anna Grange. The siblings, Monte and Lottie, now aged three, were born prematurely at just 24 weeks in December 2017.
Eva said: “When the twins were born, they were in hospital for a long time so lots of friends including my mum, wanted to help Ben and Anna and the twins’ big sister, Elsie by cooking meals. They set up a ‘kindness table.’ I saw what they were doing and asked if I could do something to help. It was mum who said, why not try and do some fund-raising.
“I have been growing my hair now for three years so that I could have it cut off and raise money for the neonatal unit. Lots of babies are born prematurely and I just wanted to say thank you to the people who look after them. I am so grateful to people who have sponsored me including all my friends and teachers. I go to a lovely school and everyone has got behind me.”
Eva’s transformation – “I’m going to have around 16 inches cut off so my hair will be in a bob, just under my chin” – will take place on Friday, 7 May, 3.45pm at The Hair Studio, Cullingworth thanks to family friend and hairdresser, Steph Greaves.
And Eva revealed that the cut-off, lovely, long locks will not be going to waste. She will be donating her hair to The Little Princess Trust, which provides free real hair wigs to children and young people, up to 24 years, who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment or other conditions.
“I’m a bit excited but I’m a bit nervous too but when I get nervous, I just tell myself that other children need my hair more than I do and all of this is for a really good cause”, she said.
She added that she couldn’t wait for further restrictions to be lifted so that she could see the twins properly and play with them.
“They are absolutely adorable. They are growing up and really smiley. I can’t wait to spend more time with them when we can – 100 per cent!”
Eva’s mum, Amy said: “Eva has never really had her cut apart from the ends trimming, since she was a baby. In fact when she was little she used to say she was Rapunzel and would lose all her magic powers, if she had it cut! I am in awe of her doing this, I really am so proud of her.”
Dad of the twins, Ben said: “This is a wonderful gesture from Eva and very humbling. It is a super-brave and selfless thing to do. We have known Eva since she was born and she really is a lovely girl. I just can’t speak highly enough of her. It’s hard to put into words just how touched we have been by the kindness and support shown to us from the beginning when Monte and Lottie were born.”
Speaking of the twins now, he added: “They are a real handful, running around and causing mayhem – and both very different characters. Monte is bigger than Lottie but Lottie can definitely stand up for herself!”
Bravery and kindness
Hayley Collis, Head of Fundraising for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, said: “I speak on behalf of our Charity and our Neonatal Unit when I say that we are in awe of Eva’s bravery and kindness. The money raised will go towards creating extra bedrooms for parents to stay in overnight so they can be close to their babies, as well as communal areas to ensure families can feel relaxed and comfortable, in what we hope will be a real home-from-home.”
Bradford’s Neonatal Unit cares for around 500 premature and sick babies every year. Approximately one baby in 10 requires admission to the unit, which takes babies from all over the Yorkshire and Humber region. Staff provide intensive care treatments to babies born as early as 23 weeks.
You can sponsor Eva here: Eva’s Big Hair Cut fundraising on JustGiving
Money raised by Eva will be shared between the Bradford Neonatal Unit and the neonatal unit at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which also cared for the twins.
To find out more about Bradford Hospitals’ Charity and how you can support your local hospitals, visit: https://bradfordhospitalscharity.org/
Read more about Bradford’s Big Neonatal Appeal here: https://bradfordhospitalscharity.org/big-neonatal-appeal/
You can read more about The Little Princess Trust here: https://www.littleprincesses.org.uk/