A Rotherhithe barber is dressing up as Santa every day this month in order to fundraise for a local children’s hospice, writes Chloe Livadeas…
Ray Hatoum, of FyneBlades hairstylists, is raising awareness and taking donations for the fourth year in a row for Demelza Children’s hospice in Eltham. Ray’s costume comes complete with a Santa beard which took him eight months to grow.
Ray, who started the fundraising as he wanted to help a local charity, is taking donations of toiletries, clothing and toys to be distributed to the children in time for Christmas. Demelza provides care to hundreds of families in need across south east London, East Sussex and Kent.
Ray said the response has been very good, and a pile of children’s toys are already waiting under the Christmas tree: “People are amazing and they like helping others, especially kids. “It’s not just my customers who donate. Local people love helping.”
Nicola Irvine, Demelza’s Senior Community Fundraising Manager, said: “We are constantly in awe of the tremendous generosity people like Ray at Fyne Blades show to our children and families, especially at Christmas time.”
And she added: “Their donations and support mean we can help make Christmas special for our families, as we continue to ensure that children with short lives will still lead full lives.” Keith Nicholson, 66, a regular of Ray’s said coming into FyneBlades is a lot of fun and that it was “tremendous” that Ray has dressed up.
Ray has worked in FyneBlades since moving to the UK from Lebanon 22 years. He is planning on fundraising as Santa every year from now on. He said: “It’s a good thing to do only at Christmas because then I’m not putting too much pressure on people, and people like helping others at this time of year.”