Patrons: Bill Beaumont, Mark Lawrenson & Tisha Merry Reg Charity No: 512186

Erin’s hair-raising stunt for St Catherine’s in honour of Leon

A school-girl said goodbye to her lovely locks in a hair-raising stunt to support two special charities.

Seven-year-old Erin Gibbons’ tresses went down past her shoulders, but now she’s sporting a stylish bob following the transformation – carried out to raise funds for St Catherine’s Hospice in honour of family friend Leon Callon.

She’s also donating her locks to the Little Princess Trust who provide real hair wigs for children and young people who have lost their hair to cancer treatment and other illnesses.

Erin, a pupil at Lever House Primary School in Leyland, was inspired to do something to show her support by her parent’s friend Leon, who was battling a rare form of stomach cancer and sadly died last month (March) at the age of just 36.

Erin, who had around 12 inches cut off at Blow Out salon in Leyland, said: “I wanted to do something to help and got the idea from a YouTube video.

“I’ve never had my hair cut short so it feels very strange! I’m very happy with the money I’ve raised and it’s good that two different charities are being helped.”

Parents Jamie and Patrice, from Leyland, said they were ‘extremely proud’ of Erin for what she’d done and for working so hard to raise funds.

Jamie said: “It was all her own idea – she just came out with it one day that this is what she wanted to do.

“Everyone has been so generous with their sponsorship with the result she’s raised more than £2,000 which is incredible!”

Leon died at St Catherine’s Hospice in March. He’d been diagnosed with Gastro Intestinal Stomal Tumours in 2016 and told there was no cure – but it didn’t stop him fundraising tirelessly to help others facing similar circumstances.

Since then he and his family and friends – going by the name #TeamCallon – have raised more than £43,600 for the GIST Support Charity and St Catherine’s Hospice.

Other upcoming fundraisers in memory of Leon include a 133-mile bike ride along the Leeds to Liverpool canal and a friend taking part in the Edinburgh marathon, both next month (May).

Meanwhile, a gruelling ‘spin class a day for a year’ challenge, being undertaken by Leon’s friend Leanne Cawtherley, continues into its fifth month!

Emma Jacovelli, Head of Community Engagement at St Catherine’s, said: “We’re so proud of Erin for taking the plunge and having her hair cut off! The amount she has raised is fantastic and will make such a difference to the patients we care for.

“#TeamCallon continue to amaze us with their creativity and determination and we’re so grateful to each and every one of them for all their hard work and generosity. Leon’s legacy lives on in the care we are able to give to our community, thanks to all the wonderful funds raised in his honour.”