Footballer John Brayford has shaved off his trademark long hair in memory of an NHS worker who died after contracting Covid-19.
The Burton Albion player, who is originally from Hartshill, is now sporting a shaven-head with full beard and has likened his new look to actor Jason Statham.
The 31-year-old former Stoke City season ticket holder was inspired to undergo the drastic restyle after learning of the death of Sylvia Tideswell who worked at he Royal Stoke University Hospital.
He is friends with Sylvia’s son Martyn Tideswell.
The defender said: “Martyn’s my best friend and I’m just doing what I can.
“I thought cutting my hair might be a good option and asking people to donate rather than just asking for money.
“I’ve fully loved the idea and embraced the raising money side of things has really given me ideas for the future. It’s always nicer to give than receive, my mum and dad always taught me, and it’s true, especially to a good cause.”
Sylvia, from Oakhill, had worked as a nursing assistant at the Royal Stoke where she had spent 17 years caring for patients in the elderly care wards.
The 60-year-old lost her fight for life on Bank Holiday Monday last week.
Apart from Martyn, she left daughters Sarah and Kerry and three granchildren.
Brayford’s partner, Hannah, performed the cut at the weekend and he hopes it will raise a decent amount of money for the NHS.
He initially set a target on a Just Giving page of £1,000 with the aim of providing a memorial bench for Sylvia.
But that target was passed and doubled within two days as present and former team-mates as well as his family chipped in.
Donations have come from, among others, Scott Fraser, Lucas Akins, Kyle McFadzean, Conor Shaughnessy, Callum Hawkins, Lloyd Dyer, Andy Garner, Colin Daniel, Reece Hutchinson, Jevan Anderson and Ben Garratt.
But there is room for more.
“As soon as we’ve got the bench going, we’ll donate the rest of the money to the ward she worked on,” said Brayford.
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