Woodbridge: Teenager Natalie Nickells loses her long locks for charity

A SUFFOLK teenager has lost a decade of hair growth - and with it her nickname - to raise money for charity.

Natalie Nickells was affectionately called Rapunzel by friends at Farlingaye High School, in Woodbridge - but the 14-year-old, whose blonde hair used to reach below her waist, decided to have it all shaved off in aid of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).

Natalie’s hair, which has barely been cut for a decade, is also being donated to The Little Princess Trust, a charity which provides wigs to children who have lost their own hair through illness.

A crowd gathered outside Debenhams in Ipswich to watch staff from John Oliver’s hairdressers carry out the task for Natalie, who exceeded her fundraising target of �1,000 and has so far collected �1,600 in sponsorship.

She said: “Cutting all my hair off is a huge step for me. It is my trademark feature but I feel really strongly that I’d like to do something to help these two wonderful charities.

“I’m really pleased that my sacrifice will help to benefit two charities. EACH provide crucial support and care to families and children with life-threatening illness in our region and I’m hopeful that my really long locks will provide enough hair to create several wigs.”

Natalie’s proud mum Rachel said: “The school has been very supportive and she has received a lot of sponsorship from teachers and friends.

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“I think she was about four-years-old the last time she had her hair cut properly. We would like to thank everyone at John Oliver’s - they were absolutely wonderful and very kind and reassuring.”

EACH aims to raise more than �5.75 million from public donations to deliver services for the year, supporting families and caring for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

Patsy Johnson-Cisse, Suffolk fundraiser at EACH, said they were extremely grateful for Natalie’s support. “It was a pleasure for me to go down and watch,” she added. “For a 14-year-old girl to have her head shaved and go that extra mile is absolutely incredible.

“We are very grateful for all of Natalie’s support. She is an inspiration.”

You can still support Natalie by visiting justgiving.com/NatalieNickells or by texting BALD77 �1 (or �2, �3, �4, �5, or �10) to 70070.