TWO young sisters have cut off their long locks to raise cash for a charity after wanting to support both their dad and grandad who have been receiving cancer treatment.

When doting grandad Bernie McCue was diagnosed with cancer four years ago, his daughter, Ruth Lightowler and her husband, Chris, were open about the diagnosis with their daughters Scarlett, six, and Poppy, five.

Mrs Lightowler said: "In a cruel twist of fate, my husband was also diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago and had surgery.

"We’re very honest with the girls so they know lots about cancer and the treatments their dad and grandad have had at University Hospital of North Durham.

"Scarlett was keen to fundraise as a way of saying thank you, and as her grandad lost his hair during treatment, she decided to have her own long hair cut for charity and Poppy said she wanted to do the same.

"The girls both go to Wynyard Church of England Primary School, where I also work. My colleagues, the children and their families have been incredibly supportive and generous.

"There was a special assembly for the girls to get their hair cut and, amazingly, Scarlett spoke in front of the whole school about cancer, our family’s experiences of it and why she and her sister are raising money. My hairdresser, Emma Turnbull, offered to cut the girls’ hair so it was done by someone they knew, and the lengths were donated to the Little Princess Trust, which makes wigs for children with hair loss.

"It was quite an occasion because both my dad and husband were there to hear Scarlett speak. "We’re so proud of both of them for what they’re doing but also for being such kind, thoughtful and very positive children. They didn’t mind at all having their hair cut – it’s such a fabulous cause and it’ll grow back after all.

"It made sense to support the appeal to extend the hospital’s chemotherapy day unit. The appeal includes the 2020 campaign, asking for donations to raise £1,000 this year. We thought we might get £500 but we’re currently on £1,500 with donations coming in all the time.”

Pat Chambers, from County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We’re so proud of Scarlett and Poppy, who are the youngest people so far to take the 2020 pledge.

The money they’re raising through demonstrating their love for their dad and grandad, will help create our chemotherapy day unit.

"We’re delighted with the enthusiasm and support our appeal is receiving and I’d urge anyone looking to support this worthwhile cause to get in touch. You could help out at one of our events or run a fundraising event of your own. We can help with suggestions and advice.”