Why i’m the Mane event!
In memory of her brother, Jo Kelly, 62, of Farrington Gurney, turned to an unlikely figure in history
Cars slowed to a crawl, horns honked and heads swivelled
Brushing my long, grey hair, I looked in the mirror and frowned.
Once my crowning glory, my bum-length tresses were looking a little lank and thin.
‘I think it might be time for the chop,’ I told my best mate Marcia, 52, a few days later.
But first, there was something I had to do.
For years, I’d been daydreaming about doing something outrageous to honour my brother Charles, 66, who’d died of lung cancer in 2011.
But for what I had in mind, I needed my long hair!
‘I want to re-enact Lady Godiva’s ride,’ I told Marcia.
A history buff, I’d read all about the noblewoman from the 13th century, who rode a horse naked through Coventry, covered only by her hair, to protest high taxes.
‘You can borrow my daughter’s horse,’ Marcia laughed. A great start! But how on earth would I go about publicising it? When I told my kids Melissa, 40, and Joseph, 34, they cracked up laughing. ‘Trust you, Mum,’ Melissa giggled, promising to cheer me on.
I was known for my wacky sense of humour.
So different to Charles, who’d been a quiet man. Still, he loved a good chuckle and I knew that my bonkers plan would have tickled him pink!
‘I’ll set up a fundraising website,’ my boy Joseph offered. ‘What’s your goal?’ ‘How about £250?’ I suggested. But I’d no idea if we’d reach it. Telling friends and family about my plan, I decided my route – it’d be a short trot through the small town of Radstock, where I worked in a bakery.
The morning of 24 September 2018 dawned, sunny and warm. Good job – under my dress I was wearing just silver nipple tassels and a pair of riding boots!
‘You sure you’re up for this?’ Tina, Marcia’s daughter, said, leading Lucy, a beautiful blackand-white horse, towards me.
I glanced round. It was 10am. There was no one about.
‘Let’s go!’ I said, whipping off my dress and clambering into the saddle.
With only my flowing locks to hide my modesty, I clung onto the reins.
It was 10 years since I’d ridden. ‘Bit higher up than I remembered,’ I said.
Soon we were clip-clopping through the town centre.
Cars slowed to a crawl, horns honked and heads swivelled, as people got an eyeful of my birthday suit.
I had a small linen scarf covering my lap, but my bum was as bare as the day I was born!
‘Talk about a diversion!’
someone hooted cheerfully.
My friends, daughter and grandkids came out in support, waving as I trotted past.
I was loving every moment of it but, after 15 minutes, it was time to pop my clothes back on – it was getting a tad chilly!
After Lucy was returned to her horsebox, I got dressed and headed to the hairdresser.
Time to bid farewell to my Lady Godiva hair. I had it cut into a chic bob and the rest of my hair was sent to a charity that made wigs for children with cancer.
Best of all, my starkers stunt raised £1,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support!
Charles, darling, I hope your daft little sis made you proud!
Me, carrying out my neigh-kid ambition
Hair today, gone tomorrow!
My brother Charles as a young man