NHS Surgeon chops mop to raise £1,700 for St Richard’s staff

An orthopaedic surgeon at St Richard’s Hospital has shaved off his lockdown hair, raising more than £1,700 for a local NHS charity, in aid of his hospital colleagues.

Miguel Oliveria pledged to trim his tresses in aid of the Hospital Heroes COVID-19 Appeal launched by Love Your Hospital, the dedicated charity of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, after his hair grew out of control during the lockdown period when hair salons were not open for business.

The appeal, which was set up to support the health and wellbeing of staff caring for patients during the pandemic and beyond, has provided comfort packs and morale boosting treats for thousands of NHS workers across St Richard’s, Worthing and Southlands Hospitals.

Miguel, who has worked at St Richard’s Hospital for more than 10 years, and within the NHS for 25 years, said he was initially embarrassed at the prospect at walking into his local barbers, but decided it could be a great opportunity to support his fellow colleagues through the appeal.

He said: “In the last few months, the orthopaedic team has really come together as a department and it seems a little bit like having my hair cut off symbolises putting this time behind us. I had grown quite attached to my hair and people were telling me to keep it. I joked about setting up another fundraiser to save my hair from the chop!”

The shave took place at St Richard’s Hospital on Friday 31st August, watched by Miguel’s colleagues and with local salon owner, Emily Henshaw from Embellish Hair in Sidlesham, finessing the final look with a number 2 all over.

Emily said: “I’m actually a former patient of Miguel’s and was under his care when I came into A&E with restricted blood flow to my hand.”

“As a hairdresser, my hands are my livelihood and his advice meant I avoided having a major operation which would have seen me out of work for many weeks. Miguel is a super guy and I’ve been very honoured to help him with his fundraising.”

Miguel has also been using his fundraiser to share stories about colleagues who he calls “unsung heroes” along with fun hair facts on social media, and even set up a Facebook page dedicated to his hair to make people smile after a difficult time through lockdown.

David Clayton-Evans, head of Love Your Hospital said: “It’s so inspiring to see a member of staff, who has already gone above and beyond for patients during the COVID19 pandemic, go that step further to raise funds in support of colleagues. The response to our Hospital Heroes COVID-19 Appeal has been amazing and this will really help us to provide a long lasting legacy to benefit staff in the future in the form of new staff spaces and facilities.”

Throughout his campaign, Miguel received messages of support from actors Hugh Bonneville, better known as the Earl of Grantham in Downton Abbey, Timothy Christopher who played James Herriot in the British TV series, All Creatures Great and Small, and celebrity gardener, Alan Titmarsh.

He said: “COVID has been a very difficult time for everybody, but we got through the worst of it together. This event gives me an opportunity to be grateful for that and to recognise in a tiny way the sacrifices that everybody else has made during this time. Hopefully, this will provide some support for other members of staff that might need it and all of this benefits our patients who are at the heart of everything we do.”

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/barbersurgeon

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