In tribute to family members who have battled cancer, including a sister who died aged just 13, Stevenage mum Esther Dilley is celebrating her 70th birthday by having her waist-long hair shaved off to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Esther will Brave the Shave at 3pm on November 24 at Barb's Hair Arcade in Stevenage Old Town and is encouraging people to turn up and support her on the day.

She said: "I have lost a sister to cancer when she was only 13 and I was 12. I have seen my mum struggle carrying her up and down three floors, as there was no lift.

"I lost my father to liver cancer. My youngest sister and daughter survived breast cancer. I have lost relatives and friends to this wretched disease.

"I have admired people who cope so well without throwing a pity party so, for my 70th birthday, I wanted to do something different.

"At my age, I have what I want and don't want to accumulate presents.

"I have, for many years, taken part in Race for Life and raised money for Cancer Research UK. On the 10th year of my participation, I decided to do 10k to mark the milestone. Now I'm doing something different to mark my 70th birthday.

"I am looking forward to it, but I don't know if I will cry. I am an old-fashioned girl and have never had my hair cut short before, so it is just above my waist at the moment.

"People say I am brave for doing this, but I'm not brave. My hair will always grow back. I'm currently looking for a hat, though, because I think my head will be cold!

"To raise a substantial amount of money to support Macmillan, which is such a special organisation, means a lot to me.

"I would be most grateful for all donations received."

Esther has so far raised £625 through an online fundraising page, with a target of £800. To sponsor Esther, visit

For more information about Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity which provides specialist healthcare, information and financial support to people affected by cancer, visit or call 0808 808 00 00 - a helpline open seven days a week, 8am to 8pm.