A teenager from Shotley has put his long hair to good use by having it all cut off for charity.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Samuel Ford, 14, has suffered from Extreme Hypermobility Syndrome since he was a child, as does his mother Emma and three siblings.

After injuring his foot in a cross country run last year he has also been diagnosed with Regional Chronic Pain Syndrome and ME, also known as chronic fatigue.

But last week Samuel paid a visit to Hair at No 10 in Manningtree to get rid of the 10 inches of hair he’s been sporting and which, he says, became part of his identity.

The money raised from the venture will be donated to the Association of Young people with ME. Not only that but Samuel’s locks will be donated to the Little Princess Trust, a charity which provides wigs for children.

Emma Ford said her son’s condition causes him constant pain, to the point where one can’t even touch his skin.

“He’s a trooper though,” she added. “He’s learning to play the piano, he’s building a website for me. He’s studying for seven GCSEs even though he’s only able to study two hours a week. He’s doing well.”

Of course there are some benefits for Samuel, who admits that he has been mistaken for a girl in the past due to his lengthy mane.

He was humble about his charity efforts. “I basically just needed a cut and mum suggested doing it for charity,” he said. “I was going to go for just a trim but then I saw this charity online… I just decided that I might as well go the whole 8 to 10 inches.”

Describing his ME condition, Samuel said: “It’s very tiring. Even if I sleep at night, most people feel refreshed but that’s just not how I feel. The other condition is basically just 24/7 pain.

“The condition is I haven’t actually got anything physically wrong with me, it’s just my brain telling me I’m in pain, so I try to be as active as I can because I know I’m not actually in pain.”