For some strange reason I’ve always wanted to shave my hair off, but over the years when mentioning it to friends, always followed it with a reason (ahem, excuse!) not to do it. Years on, when my sister, Emma, suggested we do it for charity, I jumped at the chance! I really liked the idea of us doing it together and thought it would be quite fun being ‘baldies’ together (one for the memory book)!
My sister and I had both heard of Tŷ Hafan through various friends, and had heard about the amazing work they do there, so it was at the top of our list for the charity to choose to raise money for from the shave.
I set up a JustGiving account and set the target to £1000, thinking it would be a real challenge to reach. We decided that we could maybe do it at my place of work, Unite Students in Bristol, and try to make it a bit of an event by holding an audience of a few hundred of my colleagues!
My work were totally on board, although my manager was a bit worried that I may end up taking a week off to cry. Fortunately, she came around when I assured her I’d come into work and cry it out, if needed! ;-)
As soon as we put the word out there on Facebook, Yammer (Corporate Social Network), and all the other means of technological communication (including word of mouth), we blasted our target! We had overwhelming support from friends, colleagues and family; it was astounding. I cheekily upped the target to £1500, and it didn’t take too long to hit that!
The day seemed to come around really quickly, and by this time my friends at work had come up with some really good ideas to create more of an event day and put together an internal intranet article to promote it and get everyone on board. We had a cake sale in the morning, where I went round the office with two helpers, one of them being one of our Directors (!) selling delicious cakes that people had made and brought in. A few more volunteers went round and sold raffle tickets to win prizes including some cookbooks kindly donated by Tŷ Hafan and goodies that staff at Unite Students also donated.
We set up an auction during the day on Yammer (#thebigshave), where people were submitting bids (and nominating others) to shave our heads. Other bosses got involved and started stitching each other up, one submitting a bid of £101 for our (cake selling) Director to shave mine! Then another backing that bid with another £100!!
Finally the time came at 3.30pm where everyone surrounded us to watch the shave. In order for us to donate our lovely locks to The Little Princess Trust Charity, our hair had to be plaited so that we could chop off as much as we could and contain it in bags to send off in the post! Everyone clapped and cheered as the plaits were chopped off one by one. Then when the clippers were switched on, the room went quiet.
Once the first few bits were shaved and I could see the bits of hair fall, I could hear people chattering, but my memories are quite fuzzy from what was going on around me at that point. We did film it, but haven’t had a chance to look over it yet; I just really hope I look more relaxed than I felt!
I can only speak for myself, but since shaving my head, I’ve never had so many compliments (I know what to do next time I need a bit of an ego boost!) ;-) More importantly, just checking our JustGiving account, with thanks to all our friends and family for their support, we’ve raised £2,807.25. On top of that Unite Students have given £750 charity through their Charity Match scheme and £686.67 raised from the cake and raffles.