Close shave for hospice fundraisers

Fundraisers show off their new looks after the head shave event at Whitby Rugby Club

Fundraisers show off their new looks after the head shave event at Whitby Rugby Club

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Hundreds of people turned out to support the fundraising efforts of a Whitby man diagnosed with incurable cancer.

More than £3,300 was raised as 15 brave locals had their heads shaved in a bid to help 47-year-old Kevin Graham generate cash for St Catherine’s Hospice.

Kevin, who organised the event in spite of his illness, planned to shave his own head during the fundraiser at Whitby Rugby Club, but he was unable to attend after falling ill at the start of his chemotherapy treatment.

“I was gutted to miss it, but what can you do?” said Kevin, speaking from his hospital bed.

“I just want to thank everyone for all they have done.”

Kevin’s sister, Juliet Jewell, surprised everyone at the event by announcing that she would be taking his place and having her head shaved.

“When a relative is ill, you’d do anything for them, you’d give them the breath from your body if you could,” she said.

“Kevin is very precious to us and to lots of people. This was one thing I could do for him and I was happy to help.

“We don’t feel like we’ve done much at all compared with what the hospice does for families. My hair will grow back but you can’t get back the people you have lost.”

Also helping to raise funds was Whitby sailor Dave Wharton who lost the trademark beard he has been sporting for almost 50 years.

He had his beard shaved to the tune of ‘Dedicated Follower of Fashion’ – a song that was in the charts when he first grew it for a bet.

When he offered to have his head shaved as well in return for a further donation, he raised another £70, bringing the total he generated to around £1,000.

Other friends and family taking part included Kevin’s 24-year-old son, Ricky, and Kevin’s brother, John, who was given extra support for agreeing to sport a Mohican for a week.

Local band Just Us volunteered to provide the entertainment at the event, and Keith Wallace acted as compere.

Richard Barwick, hospice fundraiser, said: “Thank you to everyone in Whitby who supported Kevin and the hospice through this amazing event.”

Kevin started his fundraising for Saint Catherine’s after being diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus just weeks ago. He fell ill after losing three close relatives to cancer last year.

As sponsor money continues to pour in, the family are already planning more fundraising for Saint Catherine’s.

Contributions can be made via Kevin’s JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/Kevin-GrahamHeadShave or via Jewson in Whitby where Kevin works.