Veteran residents living at Launchpad’s Avondale House in Newcastle upon Tyne are all set for Christmas thanks to free haircuts by a local barber.

Father of four, Lee Bonner from Killingworth, contacted the charity and offered to visit the house in Byker this week and provide all residents and staff with a free haircut and beard trim.

Lee, 41 qualified as a barber this year after successfully completing his Level 2 in Barbering at Newcastle College. He developed a passion for barbering and styling after cutting his son’s hair for the last four years. His seven-year-old son, who is autistic and has sensory issues, found it difficult to allow other people to cut his hair, so Lee took it upon himself to learn to cut his hair along with his three daughters.

He has been working in a salon in West Moor near Killingworth and decided to take some time out to share some of the skills he has learnt.

He is passionate about the military and spent a lot of his childhood growing up and learning about the military after his uncle left the forces and moved in to live with his family. When he offered his services to Launchpad, the residents and staff were more than happy to accept his kind offer.

All 33 residents living at Avondale House were invited and Lee was joined by his good friend Raymond Denholm who is also a professional hairdresser and has been in the industry for over 20 years.

Lee said:

“I’m really pleased Launchpad took me up on my offer. When I grew up, I didn’t have much help and support and I think we could all do with that right now – not just because of the current cost of living crisis but I know talking to some of the guys in here today, Christmas is going to be a really tough time for some of them. I just wanted to use the new skills I’ve learned and help them out. Some of the guys were at work so I’ve arranged to come back another time before Christmas so they can benefit too.”

Sam Hughes, Assistant Manager – Projects at Launchpad, said:

“It’s been wonderful for the residents to have someone come into the house and provide this service to them. It’s not just about getting a free haircut, it’s about interacting and communicating with other people outside of the house. They really enjoyed it and we were able to lay on bacon and sausage butties for them as part of the breakfast club.”

Jonathan, one of the residents living at Avondale House who benefitted from a free haircut, said:

“It was really thoughtful of Lee and Raymond to come in today and offer their services. They’ve done a great job, I’m really pleased.”