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Belsize Park schoolgirl shaves head for charity in memory of grandmother she never met

PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 December 2014 | UPDATED: 09:55 15 December 2014

Isobel Townshend, 13, has her hair cut at Mad Lillies in Hampstead in aid of the Little Princess Foundation, a charity that makes real hair wigs for children who have lost their hair. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Isobel Townshend, 13, has her hair cut at Mad Lillies in Hampstead in aid of the Little Princess Foundation, a charity that makes real hair wigs for children who have lost their hair. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

With just a few snips, this plucky schoolgirl’s long plaited locks were gone and in their place a freshly shaven head of stubbly hair.

Isobel Townshend, 13, with classmates from South Hampstead High school Giulia de Giorgio,Tania Chhabna, Loren Ettlinger, Maia Simpson-Orlebar and Erin Thompson. Picture: Nigel SuttonIsobel Townshend, 13, with classmates from South Hampstead High school Giulia de Giorgio,Tania Chhabna, Loren Ettlinger, Maia Simpson-Orlebar and Erin Thompson. Picture: Nigel Sutton

In solidarity with the thousands of children who lose their hair through illness every year, brave Isobel Townshend, 13, shaved her head in memory of the grandmother she never met, who died of cancer years before she was born.

The South Hampstead High School pupil was cheered on by her classmates as she took the plunge to have her long brown hair cut off at Hampstead hair salon Mad Lillies in Heath Street on Monday.

So far, she has raised than £3,000 for Cancer Research and donated her shaven plait to the Little Princess Trust, a charity which uses real hair to make wigs for children suffering from hair loss.

Isobel, of Upper Park Road, Belsize Park, said: “Some children don’t have a choice to keep their own hair.

Isobel Townshend, 13, has her hair cut at Mad Lillies in Hampstead in aid of the Little Princess Foundation, a charity that makes real hair wigs for children who have lost their hair. Picture: Nigel SuttonIsobel Townshend, 13, has her hair cut at Mad Lillies in Hampstead in aid of the Little Princess Foundation, a charity that makes real hair wigs for children who have lost their hair. Picture: Nigel Sutton

“I would say to them, there’s nothing to be ashamed about.”

She added: “I do feel more self-conscious, though it’s not something I will try to hide.

“I feel more aware and sympathetic to people who are very self-conscious about it and how they could be nervous about showing it off.”

The teenager made the courageous decision to lop off her locks after hearing a friend complain that she wished she could shave all hers off because of a bad hair day.

Isobel Townshend, 13, had her head shaved in aid of the Little Princess Foundation, a charity that makes real hair wigs for children who have lost their hair. Picture: Nigel SuttonIsobel Townshend, 13, had her head shaved in aid of the Little Princess Foundation, a charity that makes real hair wigs for children who have lost their hair. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Surrounded by family members who had died or suffered through cancer, the youngster said she was driven by a desire to help find a cure.

Her grandmother was in her early 50s when she died from the disease, many years before Isobel had even been born.

“It is upsetting,” the schoolgirl said. “It isn’t so hard for me but I find it hard for my dad, who was so young when his mother passed away.

“I know a lot of families are affected by it.”

Her mother, Helen Townshend, said her daughter was “completely amazing”.

To donate, visit justgiving.com/isobeltownshend.

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