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PICTURES: Inverness mum braves the shave in aid of Highland Hospice


By Val Sweeney

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Penny O'Brien (left) with her mother Lorraine before her headshave.
Penny O'Brien (left) with her mother Lorraine before her headshave.

An Inverness woman has raised more than £1600 in her latest fundraising effort for Highland Hospice after shaving her mother’s head.

Penny O’Brien was due to compete in the annual dancing contest Strictly Inverness last week, but the event has been put off until October.

Despite missing out on an evening of glitz and glamour on the dance floor, she enlisted the help of her mother, Lorraine, for another fundraiser at their home in Milton of Leys.

She lopped off her mother’s locks but not before asking for people to pledge cash.

Penny (25) said the donations, when added to previous fundraising efforts, had now surpassed her previous target of £5000, so she had now set a new one of £10,000. All the money raised via Strictly will be split between Highland Hospice and Inverness Ice Centre.

Penny O'Brien gets to work on her mother's new hairstyle.
Penny O'Brien gets to work on her mother's new hairstyle.

“It is the first and last haircut I will be doing!” said the trainee careers adviser.

“I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing – I had to read the instruction manual, but I am absolutely delighted with the amount raised.”

Supporters were able to watch the stunt live via social media.

“We got to interact with everyone, so it was a bit of fun,” she added.

Lorraine O'Brien (right) shows off her new style created by daughter Penny.
Lorraine O'Brien (right) shows off her new style created by daughter Penny.

Penny is following in the dancing footsteps of her mother who was a Strictly Inverness contestant in 2013.

She and her dance partner, Inverness quantity surveyor Lewis Elder, had been practising their dance moves for about 10 weeks before the coronavirus lockdown.

“I am disappointed Strictly hasn’t taken place,” Penny said. “But I know it will happen at some point. I know our time will come.”

Lorraine O'Brien and John Baikie took part in Strictly in 2013. Picture: Gary Anthony
Lorraine O'Brien and John Baikie took part in Strictly in 2013. Picture: Gary Anthony

Lorraine, a personal trainer at Elite Training in Longman Drive, recalled her Strictly experience as “the best ever”.

Usually, the 55-year-old has a short pixie-style hairstyle but had been happy for it to be cut even shorter to help with daughter’s fundraising effort.

“I was nervous but excited at the same time,” she said. “It felt quite liberating afterwards.”

Penny O'Brien and her dance partner Lewis Elder. Picture: Gary Anthony
Penny O'Brien and her dance partner Lewis Elder. Picture: Gary Anthony

She said Highland Hospice was a cause close to their hearts as it cared for her father James Sanderson – nicknamed Buff – before he passed away in 1999.

“They made you feel very welcome and at home,” she reflected. “You didn’t have to worry about anything or feel uncomfortable.”

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