Marlborough teenager has hair shaved for good cause
11:00am Saturday 5th January 2013 in Latest News
Poppy Oktocha before her haircut with friends, from left, Jazzie, Maddie, Hebe, Lucy, Connie and Rosie
Teenager Poppy Okotcha has had her hair shaved off for UNICEF after seeing first hand the struggles African children face.
The 16-year-old student of St John’s School, Marlborough, had her luscious locks shaved off at Essensuals, part of the Toni and Guy group, in Marlborough High Street to raise £1,000 for the children’s charity.
Poppy’s family lived in Johannesburg for six years, moving back to England when she was 11.
She said: “When I lived in South Africa my friend’s mum worked at an aid orphanage and I got to know the children quite well and some of the things I saw while I was living there were quite horrific, there was a lot of poverty and children begging in the streets.
“I’ve been giving a monthly donation to UNICEF for two years now and for a while I’ve wanted to do something bigger.
“I was going to do it back in July but I chickened out, but my friends encouraged me to do it so I just went for it.
“It’s quite a shock to have no hair, I keep putting my hand up to touch my hair and there’s nothing there.
“Everybody has been really supportive, I hoped that I’d reach near to my target but I didn’t think people would be so generous.”
Poppy, who lives in Great Bedwyn, had approximately 250 hair extensions platted into her own hair which took hours to remove before the monumental chop.
Poppy’s mum, Belinda Okotcha, 47, said: “It was quite emotional to watch. I’m so proud of her and she looks beautiful as I knew she would.
“We had to take out her braids before she went to have her head shaved, it took 15 hours to take them all out, we were up until 1.30am in the morning so when she went to Toni and Guy she had an afro.”
The Malborough branch of Toni and Guy have donated a hair styling set, including ceramic hair straighteners, a hair dryer and a clutch bag, worth £100 to Poppy’s appeal which will be raffled off.
Poppy has already raise £800 and she hopes that the raffle and other donations which are yet to be collected will get her to her £1000 target.
To donate to Poppy’s appeal visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Poppy Okotcha