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.”
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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.”
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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.”