14-year-old raises £1,800 after shaving head for ‘proud papa’

A 14-year-old young farmer, who began a fundraising campaign along the cattle lines at last month’s Balmoral Show, has raised a substantial £1,800 (€2,000) for charity.

The young man, Tom McKnight, vowed to shave his head for Marie Curie (a charity that provides care and support for people with a terminal illness) after his grandfather, Eddie Maxwell – a digging contractor from Carryduff, Co. Down – was diagnosed with cancer.

Tom’s grandfather is well-known among many in the rural community in Co. Down – where he carried out much of his work digging out silos and slurry tanks on farms.

AgriLand readers will remember Tom’s interview just before his shave, in which he said that his original fundraising target was just £100. Now the young teen has managed to raise nearly 20 times that amount.

Other breeders were quick to get behind him. A steward even took him around the beef lines to make sure he didn’t miss anyone with his bucket.

Tom’s head was shaved by international cattle fitter, Mark Henry, among the cattle lines on the Friday night of the show.

Tom McKnight

Tom’s father, Allister McKnight, said: “We’re all very proud of him – particularly his papa.

“His total has hit around £1,800-£1,900. He raised around £1,000 at the show; but, then Holstein Young Breeder coordinator, Leiza Montgomery, set up a JustGiving page for him and that added around £500.

A lot of people have been very generous – some people have made donations of more than £100.

School-friends got a bit of a shock when Tom arrived back into school after completing his kind gesture – with one teacher even phoning his home to make sure everything was okay.

While his new haircut might not be quite in line with the school regulations; the principal was happy to turn a blind eye when she heard the reason behind Tom’s new look.

As for the future, Tom is working hard to get the right grades to go to Greenmount Agricultural College so that, one day, he can set up his own hoof-trimming business.