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Student honours late father

A teenager has his hair shaven off to raise money for cancer and leukaemia research

By on Wednesday, 3 August 2011

David with his newly shaven head surrounded by his classmates    (Photo: Simon Carter)

David with his newly shaven head surrounded by his classmates (Photo: Simon Carter)

A teenage boy grieving for his father and cousin celebrated the last day of term at St Ambrose College in Hale Barns, Altrincham, by publicly shaving his blond locks.

David, 13, from Cottesmore Gardens, Hale Barns, lost his father, Peter Gilbert, formerly a microbiologist at Manchester University, to pancreatic cancer three years ago and his cousin, Oliver Matthew, a year ago to leukaemia.

To honour them both and raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and Cancer Research UK, David asked his best friend, Precious Fatoye, to take the scissors to his golden head of hair.

David said: “Dad was in tremendous pain when he died. He was in bed and could not move. It was an awful time and though he coped as well as could be expected it wasn’t easy for any of us, particularly Dad.”

David, who last year skied down the Chill Factore slope in fancy dress to raise money for Red Nose Day, added: “When my cousin Oliver died of leukaemia, his brother Elliott had his head shaved for charity and it was something I respected and wanted to repeat.”

David’s mother, Diane, said: “His father would have been very proud of David. It’s a very mature thing for a 13-year-old to do, Pete would have been pleased to see how David is developing into a considerate young man.”

She added: “We have all struggled in our different ways, David, myself and our two daughters, and I don’t think it is something you ever get over. But for David to do this at this time is a boost for us all as a family.”

The family will shortly be going on holiday to Tenerife. David said: “I am going to have a wet shave at home to remove any remaining hair, and my head will be really vulnerable to the sun so we will be taking lots of creams and hats.”

His best friend Precious, who cut David’s hair in front of friends and teachers at the school, said: “I enjoyed the process and think I might have a future as a hairdresser, but we all wish David hadn’t had to do this.”

St Ambrose College’s headteacher Michael Thompson said: “David is a strong character and a devoted son that any dad would be proud of.”