Hello! Greetings from a rather cold-eared Poppy!
It’s a week since the big chop, and I’m very much enjoying having short hair, especially as I have to spend so much less time drying it! But it would be the week it snowed when I decided to have a drastic change of hair style, wouldn’t it? I’ve been quite surprised to discover just how draughty churches are when you’re sat with an exposed neck and ears!
It took me about a week to be able to count the money that was taken at the coffee morning when I had my hair chopped off. The thing is, I was just so very overwhelmed! The coffee morning was heaving, I’d say there was well over a hundred people there. Folk came especially to support me, which was wonderful. The money gathered in at the churches, not just the ones I work in, but Nathan’s too, has just kept coming. The day after, with a bucket put out at St Peter’s and loads of people handing me notes at Holy Trinity, I knew we were heading to the £3000 mark.
It was just such a lot of money and so far above my initial target of £500 that I was struggling to process it.
On the actual day, we woke up early and I plaited my hair for the last time. I divided it into four sections so that they could be easily cut by the hair dressers. I thought I looked a bit like a cartoon spider with a big head and long spindly legs. Nathan said I looked like Medusa!
Nathan, Mum, Granny and I got to church and unloaded the car, set up the raffle and the tombola and opened up the church prayer room. I’d managed to leave the meal vouchers for the raffle at home so I went back to get them. I enjoyed the chance for fifteen minutes on my own before what I knew would be a exciting and tiring morning. When I got back, my mother-in-law, Polly, had arrived and we were good to go- all we needed were people to come. I hoped they would, but I did not imagine that it would be standing room only!
By the time half past 10 came, the reporter from the local paper and the hair dressers had arrived. We had some photos, turned the Facebook Live video on and we were away!
My heart was beating fast and I could hear the scissor blades sawing through the hair near my ears. It took longer than I thought it would- I was pleased to have had put it into four sections rather than two!
When the last plait was removed, I shook my head and it felt ever so weird, like something was missing! I had the hair in my hand and proudly showed the room. When the chatter had resumed I made an effort to say hello to the people on every table, but it was so busy that I’m sure I must have missed people out.
Once the raffle was drawn, I waved goodbye and headed down the street to Prides Hairdressers. Compared to the chatter and excitement of the coffee morning, the salon was a relative pool of calm. As I was having my hair washed in the bowl at the back, I noticed that people who had been in the coffee morning were stopping and waving. I felt like the Queen!
The styling of the hair seemed to take a while but I was glad of the quiet. When I looked on the floor afterwards, there was so much hair behind me, almost as much as was in the plaits!
I then met my family and closest friends in pizza express, and I feel like people have been saying ‘give us a twirl’ to me ever since.
It has been a really lovely few weeks. I very much struggled over summer when I experienced four bereavements of some kind, the last of which was Rick. It might have seemed like a silly time of year to decide to have all my hair cut off, but the truth is that it was the right time for me. I spent the first twelve months of ordained ministry with a strong sense of impostor syndrome when it came to funeral ministry. Who was I to stand and lead people in their grief when I had experienced so little myself? But now I know a little more of grief, I know how horrible it is. This fundraising has been my way of trying to make something good out of a really tragic situation.
I can’t explain why sometimes the worst of things happen to the nicest of people. But I do know that God is with us, always. His light shines in all darkness.
Every pound raised for the Anthony Nolan trust is a good thing for a person and their family who are going through a difficult time. And all the money raised has come from the immensely generous people who I get to call my friends and family. So thank you all for your support, your love and your help. I have really enjoyed organising and working hard for something that matters so much to me. I have not done this out of any sense of duty or work, but just because it’s a cause that I really believe in.
Donations are still coming in, but this morning before church there was over £3300 and I’ve had a few more notes since. To keep up with the running total, please do so by clicking on this link.
Many thanks, and all my love.
Photos taken by Shirley Farnie and Helen Richards
For more info about The Anthony Nolan Trust, tap here.