A nine-year-old boy who has never had a haircut is preparing to have his long locks chopped off to provide wigs for children with cancer.
Reilly Stancombe, from Little Clacton in Essex, was originally inspired to grow his hair long by footballer Gareth Bale and his mane now reaches past his bottom.
But the kind-hearted boy is now planning to have his first cut and will donate his hair to The Little Princess Trust, which provides free real hair wigs to children and young people who have lost their own hair through cancer treatments or other conditions.
Reilly’s mum Daisy Canny, 30, said people know her son as ‘Reilly with the long hair’ and it has now become part of his identity.
“It started off when he was younger, he never really had it cut and it was sort of just shoulder length,” Canny, a care worker, explains.
“Then he got into football and he was a little bit inspired by Gareth Bale if I’m honest, with the long hair.
“But then it just grew and grew and he was talking about having a little bit of the ends off, just to keep it nice, and he’s never had it cut.
“It’s now really, really long.
“It goes past the bottom of his back, down just past his bottom.”
Reilly was born with a bowel condition and first got the idea for donating his hair when he saw poorly children at Great Ormond Street Hospital, where he goes for appointments.
Having seen his four-year-old brother, Roman Stancombe get a new hairstyle post-lockdown, Reilly decided it was time for his first ever haircut.
“Roman’s hair grew in lockdown and he styled it into curtains,” Canny said. “Reilly just really liked the style.
“He just woke up one day and said ‘I think that’s what I want to do mum’.
“I think he’s nervous but he feels he’s doing it for a good cause.”
Reilly adds: “People do get picked on and it’s really sad when people have no hair and I feel like I want to give back and make people’s life way happier.”
Having originally aimed to raise £100 for the charity, which also helps research projects focusing on finding less toxic treatments for paediatric cancers, by the end of his first day of fundraising Reilly had raised almost £600 on his GoFundMe page.
He is getting his hair cut at a barbers in Clacton-on-Sea on 18 August.
Additional reporting PA Real Life.