A REDCAR butcher has been blown away with the generosity of his customers after raising over £7,000 for a children's hospice from a haircut – including an anonymous £3,000 left at the shop.

Sporting an unkept hairdo due to lockdown, John Gibbon, of Goodswen Butchers on Redcar High Street, decided to do his bit for charity and get a bowl cut.

After fundraising success, which led to an anonymous stranger dropping off £3,000 in envelopes marked for Zoe's Place, the Middlesbrough children's hospice Mr Gibbon is supporting, the 56-year-old has decided to turn his bowl cut into a 'monk cut' – a halo in hair, with the top of his head shaved.

The man, who first wanted to raise just £500, has been blown away be the response and raised £1,000 before the cut took place.

He said: "If I got £3,000, I said I'd keep the bowl cut for a month and then for £3,750, I'd get a monk cut and keep it for a week.

"And then someone came into the butchers when I was out the back and passed over a bag to the girls saying give it to John.

"They just put it on the back counter and didn't take much notice. When I opened it and saw the envelopes I was like oh my god, god almighty. The girls were asking what it was – £3,000."

Going live from his home on Facebook during the bowl cut, Mr Gibbon drew in a crowd of 60, with donations coming from as far away as Chile and Australia.

More recently, the man has had support from friends in Spain and Canada.

"It's just for such a good cause. People love the place and want it to get back on its feet after coronavirus. I'm over the moon to have raised over £7,000 already but Zoe's Place needs so much more."

While the butcher, who started working as a delivery boy at Goodswen Butchers aged 11 and took it over 15 years ago, doesn't know if he will hit £10,000, he will be going live on the store's Facebook page once again on Friday, July 31, for the world to watch him get a monk cut by hairdresser Sharon Boyd.

Though having previously fundraised for various charities, children's charities are close to the man's heart after losing his four-month-old son Christopher to cot death 31 years ago.

"Only on looking back I think how did we cope? You have to get on with life and carry on, but we were zombies," he said.

"People look at Zoe's Place and think it's rosy and fun, but people there have to carry on knowing the children are terminal. My heart goes out to them.

"Our loss was sudden, I can't think what those people go through."

Mr Gibbon reiterates his thanks to customers, who gave anything from 10p to £1, as around £6,000 of money raised so far, in six weeks, is from over the counter donations.

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