Head shave raises thousands of pounds in memory of Joel Peacock

Ellie Appleton'with Janet Peacock
Ellie Appleton'with Janet Peacock

Thousands of pounds were raised by a brave teenager who had her hair shaved in a moving tribute to her close friend who died suddenly.

There were gasps and moments of applause as Ellie Appleton’s long brown hair was cut off - in front of the entire 6th form at Ossett Academy.

Miss Appleton, 17, organised the head-shave in memory of Joel Peacock, who died last October of an asthma attack, and to raise cash for charity Asthma UK.

Ellie was with fellow student Joel, 18, when he collapsed last October from an attack he did not survive.

Joel’s mum Janet Peacock was at Ossett Academy, on Storr’s Hill Road, for Wednesday’s fundraiser.

Ellie, who studies Drama, English and Psychology A-levels, aimed to raise £1,000 from the event - but has smashed the target, so far collecting £3,500 - and she hopes to raise even more.

Ellie’s mum Paula Appleton, 44, said: “Ellie and Joel were very close friends. Ellie had been feeling a bit helpless after what happened so she decided to do something positive.

“She knew she would have to do something quite drastic to raise the money. It has been a fantastic response. Everyone if very proud of Ellie.”

Asthma UK’s Stephen Gregg gave a talk to students about the condition before the headshave, which was held in a special assembly at the school.

A music and video tribute to Joel, who was a windsurfing instructor who loved cycling and skiing, was played.

Then stylists from Image Salon - who have been cutting Ellie’s hair since she was five - carried out the headshave.

Ellie’s hair has been donated to the Little Princess Trust, a charity which makes wigs for children who lose their hair because of cancer treatment.

Mrs Appleton, of Swithenbank Avenue, Gawthorpe, said: “Because her hair was being donated they had to do it in quite a ceremonial way.

“They brushed her hair back and put it in a pony tail in front of everybody. When the pony tail came off there were gasps and spontaneous applause.

“Then they shaved the rest off. At the end Ellie and Joel’s mum Janet had a big hug and everybody clapped.

“Ellie said it was worth every penny because her hair will grow back.”

Cash is still being raised for Asthma UK, which funds research and helps asthma sufferers manage their condition.

To donate log on to www.justgiving.com/ellie-appleton

To find out more about Asthma UK, log on to www.asthma.org.uk