Grieving son warns mother’s dream hair salon could close months after her sudden death

A grieving son has warned the “dream” hair salon opened by his trapeze artist mother in West Hampstead just a month before she died of a sudden heart attack could close.

Elish Wharton had dreamed of opening a hairdressers for years, and had finally realised her ambition when she threw open the doors to Elish’s hair salon in Fortune Green Road in March this year.

But just a month later tragedy struck and the 49-year-old died of a heart attack in her sleep.

Her son, Nando Stenning, 23, who lives in Abbey Road, said: “It was her lifelong goal, ever since she started hairdressing 20 years ago.

“She was so happy when she opened it. She was really proud of what she had accomplished.”

Recalling the emotional day she opened her business, he said: “It was fantastic. We have got a big family and they all came down from Liverpool. I think everybody got their hair trimmed that day.

“She said to my uncle a week before she died, if I die now I can die a happy woman. It is very weird to think she said that.”

Most Read

Mr Stenning wants to keep the salon open as a lasting memorial to his mother.

But he is in the final year of a sports science degree at London Metropolitan University and is struggling to cope with the demands of running a business.

“All my family are asking me to carry on her legacy,” he said. “It is important for me to keep her dream going.

“But it has been really stressful. I have no brothers or sisters and so it has fallen to me to keep things going.

“I’m worried the business might not survive. I have drafted in my auntie and some friends to help me, but we need everyone’s support.”

Ms Wharton spent years travelling around Europe as a trapeze artist with a circus before moving to London after having her son in the hope of providing him with a better education.

“Her death was so sudden, it took us all by shock,” said Mr Stenning. “I want to keep the salon open in her honour. I don’t want her dream to die with her.”