At more than three feet long, Jules Alderson’s dreadlocks were eye-catching to say the least.
The result of nearly ten years of careful cultivation, they became part of her identity and also doubled up quite nicely as a handy pillow on Brighton’s pebbled beach.
But after a great deal of consideration, Jules decided to cut them off during last year’s Red Cross Week to raise money for the British Red Cross.
“I was quite scared, it was like cutting off my identity,” said the 27-year-old.
“The only reason I went through with it was because I was raising so much money, if it wasn’t for that reason, I would probably still have dreads today.”
For every £30 raised, she would cut off an inch of hair. When it came to counting up just how much she had raised, it came to more than £1,000 – leaving Jules with a short back and sides.
“I was quite nervous totting it all up, I wasn’t sure how much hair I would lose!” she added.
Jules, a Red Cross health and social care coordinator in East Sussex, took the plunge on May 8 – Red Cross Day. Red Cross Day marks the birthday of Henry Dunant, the Swiss businessman who founded the Red Cross Movement in 1863.
Armed with scissors and trimmers, Jules’ colleagues set about pruning her precious dreads.
“I felt quite strange afterwards, but I don’t miss my dreads,” she said.
“Although my haircut was quite a traumatic experience, and I’m certainly not a natural fundraiser, I was genuinely amazed at how much support I was shown by my own volunteers, family and friends.
“The whole event became something far greater than just me having a haircut; it brought staff and volunteers from a range of services together to raise a huge amount of money.
“While my hair was being cut I asked all the staff members there to tell us what they could buy with the money I had raised, and how many people in turn we could support, which really put things into perspective, and helped keep me from trying to run away from the scissors!”
As for Red Cross Week this year, Jules knows she will have to go some way to better last year’s endeavours.
If you have an unusual fundraising idea, or just want to get involved in Red Cross Week 2014, visit our website and sign up today.