A NINE-YEAR-OLD boy who was inspired to grow his hair long by footballer Gareth Bale - and has never had a haircut before - will have his long locks chopped off for charity.

Reilly Stancombe, from Little Clacton, will donate his hair to The Little Princess Trust, which provides free real hair wigs to children and young people who have lost their own hair through cancer treatments or other conditions.

He aimed to raise £100 for the charity, which also helps research projects focusing on finding less toxic treatments for paediatric cancers, and had raised almost £600 on his GoFundMe page by the end of his first day of fundraising.

His mum Daisy Canny, 30, said people know her son as "Reilly with the long hair" and that it is "sort of his identity really".

Braintree and Witham Times:

  • Inspiration - Gareth Bale.

"It started off when he was younger, he never really had it cut and it was sort of just shoulder length," care worker Ms Canny said.

"Then he got into football and he was a little bit inspired by Gareth Bale if I'm honest, with the long hair.

"But then it just grew and grew and he was talking about having a little bit of the ends off just to keep it nice, and he's never had it cut.

"It's now really really long.

"It goes past the bottom of his back, down just past his bottom really."

Braintree and Witham Times:

  • Reilly Stancombe with his younger brother Roman Stancombe, four. Photo: PA.

She said Reilly was born with a bowel condition and got the idea for donating his hair when he saw poorly children at Great Ormond Street Hospital, where he goes for appointments.

She said Reilly decided it was time for his first ever haircut when his four-year-old brother Roman Stancombe got a new hairstyle.

"Roman's hair grew in lockdown and he styled it into curtains," she said. "Reilly just really liked the style.

Braintree and Witham Times:

  • Charity effort - Reilly Stancombe. Photo: PA.

"He just woke up one day and said 'I think that's what I want to do mum'.

"I think he's nervous but he feels he's doing it for a good cause."

Reilly said that seeing ill people while at hospital was "really unpleasant and it's not nice".

"People do get picked on and it's really sad when people have no hair and I feel like I want to give back and make people's life way happier," he said.

He is getting his hair cut at a barbers in Clacton-on-Sea on August 18.

To donate, go to https://uk.gf.me/v/c/gfm/reillys-campaign-for-the-little-princess-trust.