Watch: The people who created the Little Princess Trust's first real Afro wigs
A charity that helps young people suffering from hair loss will soon be able to provide wigs made from natural Afro hair for the first time.
The Little Princess Trust, thought to be the largest hair donation charity in Europe, tried for years to offer real Afro wigs to children but was unable to accept Afro donations because wigmakers said the process was too technically difficult.
Instead the charity, which has provided over 8,000 wigs to children since its creation in 2006, used real straight black hair and curled it to look like an Afro.
The trust now says it will soon be able to start offering its first wigs made from real Afro hair after months of trials.
The breakthrough came after a student found she was unable to donate her hair to the trust last year.
Carly Gorton, of Norwich High School for Girls, was 10 when she was told Afro hair could not be accepted.
Among other reasons, donated hair needs to be oil-free, but the heavy creams usually used to moisturise Afro hair means washing it out before donating leaves it dry, weak and more likely to break during the wig-making process.
Despite this, Carly and her mother pressed on and looked for someone who might take the donation.
They eventually found Cynthia Stroud, a food judge and business owner who had encountered a similar problem when trying to donate her son's hair and ended up creating a wig out of it.
Stroud shared her method with the Little Princess Trust, which was finally able to take Carly’s donation in January this year. It worked with a London firm called Raoul Wigmakers and the first wigs were produced in April.
Carly, now 11, told Yahoo News UK the resulting wigs are “so pretty”.
Her mother Anna Mudeka said she couldn't believe the positive reaction: “The amount of shares we’ve had on Facebook has just been beyond me and it's not just Black people sharing, it's White people coming and saying this is absolutely fantastic! Well done everybody! It’s brought everybody together, nobody is being negative about it, it’s a really really positive story.
“The right people put their heads together and change can happen in all circumstances.”
“It’s amazing, it’s a real breakthrough because what we are now realising is, it’s not just Carly’s hair, but loads of children like Carly and of other heritages can actually have hair that’s suiting to their heritage.”
Stroud has since become an ambassador for the trust, and Liz Finan, owner of Raoul Wigmakers, is now a trustee.
Stroud told Yahoo News UK she felt “humbled to be part” of the process, and is now helping to write guidelines for cutting and preparing Afro hair donations to go up on the charity’s website.
Raoul’s director Caroline Shallow said: “It’s been such a pleasure to be part of something so beautiful, and a success.”
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