For most people, a visit to the hairdresser is a relaxing, personal pampering experience, sitting quietly in front of the mirror. But when Sam Allmark changed her hairstyle on Friday evening, it certainly wasn’t a peaceful experience!
Sam sat in front of a crowd of cheering colleagues and guests at Shaftesbury’s Royal Chase Hotel, where she works, as her head was shaved to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Earlier in the day, dozens of locals had called into the Town Hall to support the charity’s ‘World’s Greatest Coffee Morning,’ event, but Sam says she didn’t consider baking a cake to be an easier option. “Baking a cake is quite traumatic. My hair will grow back. It’s nothing. It’s just a haircut. I have it done every four weeks,” she laughed.
Rosie Gibb from Kalypso Hairdressers offered to shave her friend’s head in front of the crowd. “I do have the clippers,” Rosie said, as she held them up to the audience and confirmed her role in the evening by flicking them on for a few seconds. The room filled with a buzzing sound, which showed that she meant business.
“Sam asked me because we go ‘way back’ and she knew I’d be up for up,” said Rosie. “Audiences don’t bother me. The more, the merrier. But this is the first time I’ve used them in public. You can’t really go wrong, it’s all got to come off,” Rosie said.
As the 7.30pm event approached, Sam, who was sporting fuchsia pink hair, said she wasn’t worried about the head shave. “It’s not a big thing for me. It’s only hair. It doesn’t make me the person that I am.”
Sam had a personal reason for wanting to help Macmillan. “Thirty-odd years ago I lost my granddad to bowel cancer. Thirty years ago that wasn’t such an unusual thing. I’ve had friends who, recently, have been survivors of quite aggressive cancers. And that’s great, because all of the research into curing, prevention and awareness is working. That means that there are a lot of survivors. Macmillan helps survivors and sufferers. I just wanted to give something back. I had a bit of scare last year,” Sam said.
Sam has been delighted at the number of people who have made donations. “It’s friends, people that I have known for years, people at work. I’ve had some strangers do it, customers here. Everyone has been really supportive. I’m really humbled,” Sam said.
It was time to start. Clumps of bright pink hair gathered on the expanse of white sheets that hotel staff had laid around the base of Sam’s chair. And just five minutes later there were cheers and applause as Sam saw her new hairstyle for the first time. She expressed delighted at how her shaved head felt ‘soft and fuzzy’. “Have a stroke,” she said.
Sam’s decision to have her head shaved has made a real difference because it’s raised more money than she had expected. “We’re at £650 at the moment. I only wanted to raise £150. It would nice to get to £1,000,” said Sam.
Sam has now raised £769. It’s not too late to help her reach a grand. You can leave your donation at the Royal Chase Hotel.