Eight-year-old Josh Purkis from Birmingham has cut his waist length hair in support of two charities that helped his family when his little sister was taken seriously ill with a brain tumour.

Josh had been growing his hair since 2019 when his sister Verity lost hers from having chemotherapy. He has so far raised over £1,916 for Ronald McDonald House Charities UK and is donating his luscious locks to The Little Princess Trust.

The Purkis family were on holiday on the Isle of Wight when Josh’s sister became poorly and was transferred to Southampton Children’s hospital. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour and immediately operated on. The family, 130 miles from their home in Birmingham, were given a room in Ronald McDonald House Southampton so they could be close to Verity during her treatment. The 52-bedroom House, situated within minutes’ walk of the hospital wards, kept the family together during a critical time.

Of their support for Ronald McDonald House Charities UK, Abi, Josh’s mum, said:

‘When Verity was taken ill on holiday in the Isle of Wight she had to be transferred to Southampton hospital where she underwent two brain surgeries to remove as much of her tumour as possible. Through the Ronald McDonald House Southampton we were given a room in the House next to the hospital.  This meant that Josh, his brother Ben, and their Dad were able to visit Verity and me during her stay, and also gave me a place to rest and recuperate when Verity was being looked after by family or in surgery.

“The use of this room and access to the facilities at the Ronald McDonald House meant we could still see each other and be together as a family at such a difficult time, especially as we were all still in shock and grieving the death of my eldest sister Liz. We have always been so grateful to Ronald McDonald House Charities UK, Josh has decided he wants to donate any money he raises from cutting his hair, as a way of saying a huge thank you to them.”

Ronald McDonald House Charities UK has twelve Houses across the UK situated in or near hospital grounds to enable seriously ill children to have their families close by when they are undergoing treatment and to maintain a degree of normal family life.