A Swaffham pensioner has had an 80th birthday makeover with a difference and raised hundreds of pounds for kidney care services along the way.
Jean Nesbitt, who celebrates her birthday next week, had her head shaved at the town’s Conservative Club at the weekend in aid of the dialysis unit at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
She was joined under the razor by her long-time friend Janet Lanchbury, who is fundraising for the dementia unit at the town’s Merle Boddy Centre.
And both ladies are delighted with the public’s response to their effort, which has already raised more than £1,000 for their respective good causes.
Donations are still coming in and Mrs Nesbitt has already raised more than £650 for her charity. Mrs Lanchbury has raised around £500 so far.
Mrs Nesbitt said: “I didn’t expect to get anywhere near this, but everybody seems to be responding.”
Mrs Nesbitt explained that she wanted to do something for the dialysis unit because of the care that her husband, Bill, who has kidney failure and has dialysis treatment three times each week, receives there.
She said: “They keep him alive so I wanted to show my appreciation.”
Although she admitted that some members of her family had voiced concerns about the radical new look, relatives and friends were at the London Street venue for the shave on Saturday afternoon.
And Mrs Nesbitt was determined to do her bit for the unit.
“I’ve got a lung problem so I can’t walk and I can’t run and I wanted to do something different for my 80th birthday.
She added: “Everyone keeps saying ‘You look like your sons now’ and I say, ‘No, they look like me now.’”
Mrs Nesbitt, who celebrates her 80th birthday next Thursday, May 22, and Mrs Lanchbury, 54, have been friends for more than 25 years.
She said her friend had decided to join her in the hairdresser’s chair after finding out what Mrs Nesbitt was planning to do.
Mrs Lanchbury’s husband, Ron, has dementia and currently visits the Merle Boddy day centre twice a week.
She has spent the past six months caring for her husband at home and paid tribute to the work the centre’s staff do to help her husband and other patients.
She said: “The people that run it are just so good. When he arrives they’re so welcoming and they know just how to chivvy them along. It’s a lovely atmosphere.”
“We’ve had some mixed reactions but most people have said well done and how brave. I think it’s something that was achievable and the reaction has been amazing.”
Anyone who wishes to make a donation to either charity is asked contact Mrs Nesbitt on 01760 725479 or Mrs Lanchbury on 01760 724564.