A teenager has had her long locks cut off to mark the first anniversary of a little girl’s death.
Erin Bates was just 12-years-old when she lost her battle against a cancerous brain tumour last year.
Family and friends of the Washington youngster gathered at her former primary school, Holley Park Academy, on the anniversary of her death to remember the youngster and celebrate her life.
During the emotional evening 16-year-old Charley Wood, from Ryhope, had 15 inches of her long, dark hair cut off to raise money for the charity set up in Erin’s name.
Charley’s mum, Glenda Wood, is the business manager at Holley Park, and the teen was a regular visitor helping out in lots of school events, where she got to know Erin.
Glenda said: “We were all devastated when Erin died. Charley decided last year that she wanted to mark the first anniversary by raising money for Erin’s charity and this is one way she could do it.
“Charley has always had really long hair, but like she said her hair will grow back.
“I am extremely proud of her and it’s very emotional because of why she did it.”
Charley, a pupil at St Robert of Newminster RC School, will be donating the hair to the Little Princess Trust, which uses it to make wigs for children who have lost their hair.
She is also planning to take part in a fundraising zipwire challenge from the roof of The Sage, Gateshead, which is being organised by Erin’s dad, Simon Bates.
Erin was diagnosed with the tumour while still a pupil at Holley Park and although she had left to go to Oxclose Academy she was still a regular visitor to her old school, where her little sister, six-year-old Olivia, is a pupil.
Glenda added: “She was so lovely, she would always come in and speak to us. She was a founder member of our choir, One Voice, and was still involved with that.”
“Erin loved her time at school, singing, playing football and having fun with her big circle of friends.”
In June 2013 Erin was diagnosed with a high grade glioma deep in her brain, which doctors were unable to remove.
Radiotherapy and chemotherapy followed and in March 2014 it looked like the treatment was working, but by June Erin became ill again and a scan showed the tumour had grown.
Nothing more could be done and less than two weeks later Erin died at home with her family.
Thousands of pounds have been raised for four child cancer charities in Erin’s name. To make a donation visit erinslegacy.org.uk.