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Inverness woman encourages others to show off their grey hair in bid to raise money for mental health charity

By Ian Duncan

Elizabeth Marsden who is raising money for the Mind charity with the help of hairdresser Rachel Jane Milne. Picture: Gary Anthony.
Elizabeth Marsden who is raising money for the Mind charity with the help of hairdresser Rachel Jane Milne. Picture: Gary Anthony.

AN Inverness woman is hoping to encourage others to go grey gracefully and raise money for a mental health charity at the same time.

Elizabeth Marsden (45) has raised around £1000 for mental health charity Mind by “freeing her sparkle” – gradually growing out her previously coloured hair to reveal the natural silver beneath.

Hairdresser Rachel Jane Milne, who is based in the Victorian Market, kindly waived her fee and donated it to the fund when Mrs Marsden went in for a styling session recently, bringing her to within £3 of her £1000 target.

She began fundraising in January 2018 with the aim of starting a conversation about why people feel the need to colour their hair as they get older, instead of getting excited about it.

She also wants to encourage people to show off their silver “sparkle” on social media.

Mrs Marsden, who lives in Westfield Drive, said: “I’m also thoughtful about the implications about all that chemical dye going eventually into the earth, not just here but in countries across the world, as women are expected to look a certain way. After starting the campaign and my own journey, I have discovered how different people’s perceptions of sparkly grey hair are.

“Some people are terrified of it, but many love it, and I have had many compliments about my hair.”

Mrs Marsden found the courage to stop dying her hair after a friend suggested it.

She said: “I decided to raise money for charity by freeing my sparkle as a personal challenge.

“It’s a great conversation opener and it means growing my hair out is a talking point. It’s something I can be proud of, instead of feeling ashamed and embarrassed. Raising money for Mind was a natural choice because I have experienced mental health problems myself.”

On her 43rd birthday, Mrs Marsden suffered a manic episode triggered by a combination of sleep deprivation and jet lag and said Mind’s website was full of helpful advice for someone in her situation.

She added: “At first I felt embarrassed about my experience, but gradually through talking to different people and being able to see the silver linings, I realised what an amazing experience I’ve been through and how much I can learn from it.”

To make a donation, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/free-your-sparkle

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