Tokyo Olympic team gold medallist Laura Collett turned hairdresser this week as she shaved a rider’s head with horse clippers for charity, under the careful supervision of London 52.
Rachael Mason pledged to shave her head for Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony, the charity set up by event rider Hannah Francis who died from osteosarcoma aged 18. Rachael reached out to Laura through mutual friend, equine photographer Laura Ness, and asked her to do the honours.
“Three years ago I was involved in a charity event for the Blow for Bradley campaign and Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony kindly donated some prizes for our raffle. In return I said I would shave my head to raise money for Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony, but I’d always had short hair so I had grow it first or I would have felt a bit like a cheapskate!” Rachael told H&H.
“Last year the shave didn’t happen and everyone kept asking when I was going to do it. I was working at Bicton Horse Trials recently doing stable security and had hoped to do it there, but Laura wasn’t competing so I waited and we did it at her yard on Monday (20 September).”
Laura put Rachael’s hair into a plait before shaving it with horse clippers while London 52 watched over proceedings.
“Laura Collett was absolutely lovely and the team at her yard were such good sports. We were joking at the start if I would need twitched first! I wanted Laura to do it because I’ve always admired her – she is such an amazing rider and role model,” said Rachael.
“My hair was down to the middle of my back so it’s certainly very cold now and I’ve never been one for wearing hats. My daughter Sarah is getting married in April and said ‘Mum, I hope you have hair for my wedding!’.”
Rachael is hoping to raise £500 for Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony and donations can be made via Rachael’s JustGiving page.
“I’ve done fundraising for the Wiltshire air ambulance and other organisations before and I always try to give something back,” she said.
“I knew Hannah through the Wyle Valley Pony Club. She was a very inspirational young lady and never gave up. The charity works so hard to keep her legacy going. It was nice at Bicton to still see some of the event riders still have their Willberries on and even the police horses had a Willberry too.”
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