Student takes chop for Africa

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On Thursday, March 3 in Fylde bar, second year Lancaster University student Shelley Tomkins shaved her head in aid of the Happy Africa Foundation.

Photo by Elliot Westacott

It was included as part of the Love Culture Hate Sexism event for International Women’s day, which is actually on the March 8 but due to FTO elections the event was moved forward, the Facebook event page clarified. The evening was also set to showcase an array of cultural performances including poetry readings, dancing, and monologues performed by the cast of Lancaster’s Vagina Monologues “in celebration of women across the globe and the men that support them” it went on.

On the night Tomkins raised just over £150 and after collecting the rest of the money she “will have smashed the £500 target”, going on to say that “this will, with any luck, be being matched by my employer, Revolution”, raising a commendable £1000 at least.

Tomkins explained that her inspiration was not necessarily based on the event itself, but thought that shaving her head “would make a good impact whilst raising more money than I figured I could do by conventional methods such as cake sales or running.” Although, Tomkins and her mother are also running in a half marathon at the end of March for which her mother is sponsored for the same cause.

The Happy Africa Foundation explains on its webpage that it “is proud to support a number of noble conservation and community development initiatives throughout eastern and southern Africa”. It is also a parent company of African Impact, a firm that Tomkins is “spending six weeks in Zimbabwe with over the summer while taking part in a community project in Victoria Falls”, one of the largest waterfalls in the world.

Isobel Davies, who was one of the organisers of the Love Culture Hate Sexism event, thought that Tomkins shaving her head fit in perfectly at the event, going on to say that “it was great fun. She was incredibly brave and she looked beautiful when she’d had it done” particularly as she had red stars shaved in as well. Tomkins said that overall it was “a very good night” with a “great turn out” and thought “the whole team who put on the International Women’s day event were amazing”.

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