Home News Richard Healey braves the shave in memory of mother-in-law, Marion.

12 Nov 2021 Community

Richard Healey braves the shave in memory of mother-in-law, Marion.

With bobble hats on standby for this winter, Richard Healey did the unthinkable this October, finally taming his mane and braving the shave to raise vital funds for a hospice close to his wife’s heart. After 27 years without so much as a trim, it was an amazing gesture in memory of his mother-in-law, Marion.

On 3rd November 1990, Helen said her goodbyes to her loving mother Marion, 50, spending her last week’s being cared for on The Kirkwood’s In-Patient Unit. The Kirkwood was still in its infancy when Marion was first admitted, having begun to care for people affected by life limiting illnesses across Kirklees in March 1987.

Over 30 years later, in October this year, Helen paid a visit to our gardens with her husband Richard to celebrate their amazing fundraising achievement and take part in a cheque presentation.

The couple raised an incredible £4,230 thanks to Richard’s decision to shave his head after almost three decades of hair growth!

It was hard for Helen to come back to The Kirkwood site in Dalton where her mum had been cared for. She was very young at the time. She had actively driven around the area many times but had never ventured inside since Marion’s death. However, she was determined to visit again.

Helen said: “When I arrived at the garden for our photo with Joanna [The Kirkwood Community Fundraiser] I was shocked at how much it had grown and modernised compared to my memory of wheeling my mum out in her bed to the garden.

“When you see how far they have come it’s like WOW!”

On the 16th October 1994, Helen and Richard celebrated their wedding day, which is something they will always remember. Twenty-seven years later Richard decided to take the plunge and shave his head.

How does a head shave fundraiser raise so much money you might ask? Well, when the man in question hasn’t cut his hair since his wedding day twenty-seven years ago, as you can imagine, this was a spectacle people would pay good money to see. It was also special because the money was going to the local charity which helped in their time of great need.

When asked about the Brave to Shave event, Helen said: “We’ve always joked about doing it.”

Richard chimed in: “I program robots at a concrete factory and was always coming home with dust and bits in my hair. I’d had enough of it, it’s much easier now.”

Richard’s hair was just past shoulder length and curly, so the true length of his twenty-seven-year growth will forever remain a mystery.

The couple’s original target was set at £2,000, something Richard kept a keen eye on at the beginning of their fundraising journey, joking “if we didn’t reach £2,000, I would pay that amount not to do it.”

Unfortunately for him, and his locks of hair, the pair smashed their target raising a further £1,600 on the night of the head shave, with donations still rolling in days after. So buoyed by the fundraising total, Richard took the shave to the next level: bye-bye, eyebrows and bye-bye, moustache and beard. What a trooper!

The shave took place at The New Inn, Roberttown.  Grateful for the generosity of the public and the hosts, Helen added: “I would like to say a massive thank you to Andy and Helen of The New Inn for letting us hold our fundraiser there.”

Helen an active player of The Big K Lottery and annual buyer of The Kirkwood Christmas cards, explains: “The pub was packed! You couldn’t move inside or out”

Having revisited The Kirkwood gardens, both Helen and Richard are now hoping to attend this year’s Light up a Life event, due to be held in our gardens this December. They are also eager to attend other events in the future, hopefully visiting the inside of the hospice one day too, to see all the wonderful changes that have taken place over the last 31 years. We look forward to the day we can welcome them.

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