Birthday boy Toby makes the cut for Children’s Appeal

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When it comes to memorable birthdays, Toby Parkinson’s ninth will be right up there forever given that he had his first haircut since being a toddler in front of more than 200 people at a dance competition!

Toby decided to have his long locks shorn to raise £800 to be split equally between two local charities – Destination Florida, which takes poorly children from the North West to Florida, including trips to Disney World, and Lancashire Teaching Hospital Charity’s Children’s Appeal, which he learned about from mum Kathryn Parkinson, who works as a healthcare assistant on Ward 8, the children’s ward at the Royal Preston Hospital.

On his big day, PNE fan Toby, twin sister Lucy, big sister Bethany (17), mum and members of Preston’s Crusaders morris dancing troupe were at a competition in St Helens. Brave Toby, a pupil at Pool House Community Primary School in Ingol, took to the floor solo for hairdresser Dawn Martin, whose daughter Willoe is also member of the troupe, to make the cut.

Proud Kathryn said: “Toby was about two or three when he last had a haircut. That was his first cut and he lost all his lovely baby curls. He has always wanted to keep his hair long but just before his birthday, announced he had decided he’d like to go shorter.

“He’s a thoughtful boy. He knows I work on the children’s ward and that I have accompanied children to Florida. We decided to make his re-style a charity event. I set up an online giving page but by having his hair cut at the competition, he was able to raise £300 on the day. He also donated his hair to The Little Princess Trust, which makes real hair wigs for children who have lost their hair undergoing cancer treatment.”

Roya Armstrong, fundraising manager for the Children’s Appeal, which is aiming to raise £1 million to be spent on a shopping list of items for children’s out-patients and in-patients at the Royal Preston, said: “Toby has done an amazingly generous thing – it was his birthday but he was the one doing the giving. The donation to ourselves, Destination Florida and The Little Princess Trust will help so many children. We hope he went on to have a fantastic day.”

To watch a video explaining the Children’s Appeal, become involved or make a donation, go to www.lthcharity.org.uk/childrensappeal