A teenage boy with autism, whose deep-seated fear of change left him unable to get his hair cut for more than a decade, has had his long locks chopped to raise money for the hospice which cared for his mum before she died last year.

The Comet: Andrew (right) with his sister Kerren, mum Kerry and grandmother Chris. Picture: Kerren Clark.Andrew (right) with his sister Kerren, mum Kerry and grandmother Chris. Picture: Kerren Clark. (Image: Archant)

Andrew Clark and his sister Kerren, who live in Stevenage, were devastated when their mum Kerry, who single-handedly cared for them, died in July 2019, aged just 43.

Kerren, now 17, said the last four years of her mum’s life were hell, as she bravely battled cancer, but the support she received from Letchworth’s Garden House Hospice Care was incredible.

Andrew, now 16, decided to raise money for the hospice by having his hair cut, so far amassing £1,000.

Kerren said: “Andrew has autistic spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, so he sees the world very differently to other people and has a hard time accepting and adjusting to any kind of change, big or small. This is why he had been growing his hair since he was four or five years old and it reached down to the top of his thighs, but he decided to cut his hair short to raise money for Garden House Hospice Care. This was a big decision for Andrew. He said ‘It’s really hard, but something other people see as a small change could make a really big difference.’”

Kerren, Andrew and their grandparents, who have been caring for their grandchildren since Kerry’s death, have been determined to show their gratitude to the hospice through fundraising.

Kerren explained: “From the beginning to the end, the hospice staff supported Mum unconditionally. In the months she spent there, she was more herself than she had been for a long time.

“By supporting this fundraiser and Andrew’s brave decision, you’re helping to ensure Garden House can continue providing the amazing care they offer.”

You can still donate to Andrew’s fundraising page at justgiving.com/fundraising/andrew-cuts-his-curlsKerren and Andrew also want to thank those whose financial help has allowed them to remain in their family home. Kerren said: “We have been able to stay in our home and it’s thanks entirely to the generosity of our friends, family and strangers. It’s allowed us to finish school in Stevenage.”