Heather’s ‘close shave’ raises funds for Cherry Tree residents

Heather and her husband John who is a resident in Cherry Tree House. INCT 25-708-CON
Heather and her husband John who is a resident in Cherry Tree House. INCT 25-708-CON

It was hair today, gone tomorrow for a Carrickfergus woman after she devised a novel way of supporting a local nursing home.

Heather Loveday had her head shaved at Cherry Tree Nursing Home last Saturday in a bid to raise cash towards the residents’ ‘comfort fund’.

Heather after having her hair shaved. INCT 25-732-CON

Heather after having her hair shaved. INCT 25-732-CON

The local woman came up with the hair-raising idea while visiting her husband John, who has lived at the North Road home for a year.

“John had a major stroke a year ago; he’s in a wheelchair and it has affected his speech quite badly, but he communicates in his own way,” said Heather, from the Prospect area of the town.

“I visit him throughout the week and I’ve really got to know the other residents, as well as the staff, who are just fantastic.

“I really wanted to do something that would benefit all the residents and the home already has a comfort fund, so I thought I would raise some money towards that.”

Spotting a therapeutic massage chair online, Heather pledged to raise the £2999 needed to buy the equipment for the home.

“The chair has so many different functions and was something that everyone could use; it was a lot of money but I decided I would make up whatever shortfall there was.

“I’ve never done anything like this before but I feel so passionate about the home,” said the 65-year-old, a former office manager with the South Eastern Education and Library Board.

Heather’s ‘close shave’ took place at the home on Saturday, June 7, much to the amusement of her husband and fellow residents.

“The hairdresser, Mary, comes in to the home twice a week to do the residents’ hair so I asked her if she would do mine,” Heather said.

“There was a good crowd gathered to watch but I wasn’t nervous at all; my husband thought it was very funny!”

The novel fundraiser has so far generated over £1800 towards the purchase of the chair, with further donations still coming in.

“Local businesses were very good to me and donated prizes for a ballot, which raised £250,” Heather added.

“I’d like to thank A Wilson and Sons; Vets 4 Pets; Johnstone’s Paint Suppliers; T&B Barbers; Carrick Pet Store; Sunnybank Nursery and Apple Recruitment for their support.”

Referring to a recent case where Cherry Tree Nursing Home was found to have failed to properly report two incidents of verbal abuse, Heather said: “The home has got a bit of bad press recently but staff in Cherry Tree really are brilliant and I can’t speak highly enough of them.

“The two women who organise activities in the home are always coming up with different ideas; recently, they had a ‘reminiscence day’ where residents’ families brought in different older objects, like war-time gas masks or an old washboard.

“All the objects went on display in a lovely cabinet in the home and every so often the staff would take one of the objects out and they’d have a talk about them.

“Cherry Tree really do go above and beyond for residents so I’m really glad to be able to do something to help them.”