Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Ben loses trademark dreads for charity

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It’s not every day a staff member gets their head shaved in the car park of the local Mitre 10, but Ben Leetham was the exception on Monday.

He chose to part with his chest-length dreadlocks to raise money for charity.

Mr Leetham was ‘‘very nervous’’ ahead of the big shave, but knew it would be worth it to donate to local cancer support organisati­on, Deniliquin CanAssist.

At the time of the shave he had raised $2600, and donations are still being accepted.

‘‘I was going to have to shave it anyway when I joined the army (for which his applicatio­n has just been submitted), so I thought I would do it for a good cause,’’ he said.

‘‘I wanted to keep it (the cause) as local as possible.’’

Mr Leetham decided to grow out his hair in honour of a number of family members who have suffered from cancer, particular­ly an aunt who lost her battle a few years ago.

His mother Karma Leetham said she is ‘‘so proud’’ of his achievemen­t.

‘‘He was adamant from that day that he would do it,’’ she said.

After three years, the long hair was replaced with dreadlocks, but the chop was still two years away.

Among the onlookers on Monday was Deniliquin CanAssist president Kellie Crossley, who congratula­ted Ben on his journey.

‘‘We’re very grateful Ben has decided to donate funds raised to CanAssist,’’ Mrs Crossley said.

‘‘Every dollar raised goes to people in the community with cancer.’’

The Deniliquin branch primarily offers locals financial assistance through fuel vouchers and help with accommodat­ion and utility bills, because ‘‘nearly everyone’’ in town who has cancer must travel elsewhere for treatment.

Deniliquin Mitre 10 coowner Katrina Knuckey, who has employed Mr Leetham since he was 14 years old, said he had made ‘‘a fabulous effort’’ and she would be sad to see him go once he joined the army.

‘‘He’s a very valued member of staff and we’re very proud,’’ she said.

A donation tin will be on the counter at Mitre 10 until the end of this month.

As for the hair, Mr Leetham said he might sell it and that the fresh shave ‘‘feels awesome’’.

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