‘Incredible’ fundraising day raises vital funds for battling South Shields mum

The fundraiser was held at Hair@116, in Westoe Road, with Marilyn Jones, seated, having her hair cut to support Esma Richardson, behind her.
The fundraiser was held at Hair@116, in Westoe Road, with Marilyn Jones, seated, having her hair cut to support Esma Richardson, behind her.
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A South Shields mum continued her bid to give cancer the chop as she enjoyed an “incredible” day of fundraising at a salon.

Esma Richardson, 39, of Broughton Road, South Shields, is battling the disease, having been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, which had spread to 19 other parts of her body, in January 2014.

Marilyn Jones had been growing her hair for four years.

Marilyn Jones had been growing her hair for four years.

The mum-of-three has embarked on a £50,000 fundraising drive, called Esma’s Journey, as she aims to raise enough to undergo potentially life-saving stereotactic radiotherapy to kill off one of the tumours which surgeons are unable to operate on.

Part of the community came together yesterday in a fundraising effort at the salon Hair@116, in Westoe Road, South Shields.

Esma, who is a hairdresser, was on hand to cut visitors’ hair at the salon in what was a hair and beauty day.

Among those who took part was Marilyn Jones, from South Shields, who had her long locks cut off to help Esma’s Journey, with the hair to be donated to Little Princess Trust, which provides real hair wigs for children free of charge.

I really am overwhelmed with the support I’m getting

Esma Richardson

Esma, who is a mum to Connor, 19, Marcus, five and Andrew, three, and stepmum to Emma, 22, said: “It was an incredible day and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

“I certainly felt the love!

“I really am overwhelmed with the support I’m getting.

“It makes you realise how the people of South Shields are so generous and kind.

“You might not get this support in some other parts of the country, but Shields is very close-knit and seems to come together for things like this.”

Marilyn said: “My hair was very long, and I was planning to have it cut into a bob, but I changed my mind. I decided to have more off.

“I’d been growing my hair for about four years and it was a big thing for me to have it all cut off, but I just wanted to do it to help out.

“The atmosphere in the salon was fantastic and there was a real feel-good factor.

“I just hope Esma continues to get the funds raised that she deserves.”

Merchandise for Esma’s Journey was also sold at the salon, while there was a cake stall and two raffles to raise funds.

Kerry Bell, who has known Esma since she was 16, helped to organise the event.

She said: “We’re all friends of Esma, and call ourselves Esma’s troops.

“It was really busy and we were delighted with how many people came in to give their support.

“Esma’s a hairdresser and has a big network of people that she knows. People can relate to her.

“There’s another event on Friday night – a Titanic event at Hedworth Hall.

“Everyone will dress up in a Titanic theme and that will be another good night to raise crucial funds.”