Sonnie reaches cut-off point

By Jay Grenby, July 21, 2011

A Wolfson-Hillel Primary pupil is less hirsute and an Israeli charity better off this week after a ceremonial haircutting at the school.

Sonnie Carlebach, 11, from Woodside Park had grown his hair for two years to donate to Zichron Menachem, which provides made-to-measure wigs for children who have lost their hair during cancer treatment.

By sad coincidence, Sonnie's father Ezri was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma a year ago, embarking on a course of treatment which caused his hair to fall out.

As a result, Sonnie decided that the £4,000-plus he raised in sponsorship should be shared between Zichron Menachem and the Lymphoma Association.

For the haircutting ceremony, Sonnie had his blond tresses divided into six 12-inch plaits. Five of his closest friends each chopped off one plait. The other "barber" was Wolfson-Hillel head Jason Marantz, who arrived straight from the brit of his new son. Zichron Menachem representatives also attended.

Sonnie revealed that his target length of hair growth had been 16 inches - "so that I would have some left after it was cut". He had occasionly been mistaken for a girl who had wandered erroneously into the boys' toilets.

"It will feel unusual to have short hair," he said, "but I know that my hair will be used by someone who needs it." He added that his father was on the road to recovery.

His mother Jacqui was "so proud that Sonnie has made such a big contribution on his own initiative. The school really backed him, which is wonderful."

Mr Marantz praised his pupil as "an incredibly thoughtful young man with a real determination to help others. We are delighted that he chose to have his haircut at school."

    Last updated: 3:11pm, July 21 2011