Courageous Rugby teen shaves head in memory of friend - and donates hair to children’s wig charity

Rachel Payne helped Myton Hospice and the Little Princess Trust
Rachel Payne helped Myton Hospice and the Little Princess Trust

A teenager from Rugby said goodbye to her long locks in memory of her friend who died from a brain tumour.

Rachel Payne, 17, made the brave decision to cut off her hair after her friend Stephen Realf lost his long battle with cancer in August aged 26.

She has helped raise £630 for Myton Hospice, Stephen’s chosen charity for donations before he died.

Rachel, who is a visual arts student at Warwickshire College of Arts, said: “Stephen and I were friends for a long time because he lived down the road from me.

“When he was ill he lost his hair due to treatment.

“This made me decide to do something to help Myton Hospice.”

Her waist-length hair was cut off at Martanne hair salon in Rugby.

“I was really nervous on the day,” added Rachel.

“Remembering why I was doing it is what got me through.”

Her hair will now help others who are fighting cancer.

“I gave it to the Little Princess Trust who make wigs for children with cancer. It must be so hard as a child to cope with losing your hair.”

Rachel said the response to her new look has been positive.

“People say they like it,” she explained.

“I keep getting Sinead O’Connor songs sung to me!”

Stephen’s dad Peter said: “Not only did Rachel have her hair shaved, she had it plaited first so it can be recovered and used to make wigs for youngsters who have lost their own hair as a result of radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

“I think this is a very courageous act for a 17-year-old who is in her first term at college, and I’m sure our son Steve would be very proud of what Rachel is doing having lost his own hair three weeks into his radiotherapy treatment in 2010.”

Visit to donate to the appeal.