A BRAVE Pershore youngster has thanked a charity who helped care for his step-fatherby raising more than £1,500 through shaving his hair off.
15-year-old Toby Vallely, raised £1,600 by shaving his head bald on Friday December, 4 in memory of his step-father Martyn Wakeling for St Richard’s Hospice, who provide free specialist palliative care for patients living with life-threatening illnesses.
The Year 11 Pershore High School student wanted to give something back to St Richard’s after they cared for his step-father, before his death last year, and decided to sacrifice his shoulder length curls in front of his whole school.
Angie Matthews of UK Barbers in Pershore generously donated her time to shave Toby’s hair, and his form tutor John Knight offered moral support by also having his head shaved, as they were cheered on by students, teachers, family and friends.
Pershore High matched the donations made on the day, raising £950 for Cancer Research UK, and Toby’s hair was donated to the Little Princess Trust, who produce wigs for children.
“The few months of Martyn’s illness and death were difficult for the family,” said Toby.
“When Martyn collapsed on Christmas Day it was the most terrifying moment of my life and mum was hit especially hard as she nursed him throughout his final months. But St Richard’s Hospice made it so much easier.
“It’s thanks to St. Richard’s Martyn died with the woman who loved him most and with his best friend. Nurses also visited regularly to ease his passing and help comfort the family.
“Martyn’s death didn’t leave sadness in me in the conventional sense, but instead I just felt a responsibility, I wanted to make it mean something more,” he added.
Headteacher Clive Corbett said: “Toby spoke with real passion and clearly struck many chords in his assembly speech, as the school hall was completely packed and donation buckets were overflowing.
“It’s certainly a testament to the courage Toby had to undertake this challenge, and of course to the students and staff who were so incredibly generous with their donations.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/Tobias-Vallely to donate or www.strichards.org.uk for more information.