Once a week, on his day off, barber Chris Dendy heads to Dysart School in Ewell Road, Surbiton, to give some of the special needs pupils a haircut.
It may not sound like much at first, but the dad-of-two is providing a vital service.
Many of the students have severe and complex learning disabilities. Until Mr Dendy, 43, arrived on Wednesdays, the idea of getting their child to sit still for a hair cut was unimaginable for some parents.
But now their children are kept trim for a nominal fee – which Mr Dendy donates back to the school.
He said: “A couple of years ago the school asked if they could bring a boy down to get him used to being in a shop environment.
“He had quite long hair and gradually as he got used to me being in the shop I managed to give him a haircut.
“The school was really pleased and asked me if I was willing to cut some of the other students’ hair.
“It is one of the things parents find hard.”
Nadia Piper’s six-year-old son, Freddie, has a condition called global development delay that affects his communication skills.
She said: “Chris’ service is invaluable. When Freddie had his hair cut he used to cry – it was very upsetting.
“We do not need to take him anywhere to get his hair cut now. We cannot thank Chris enough.”
Several students now go to see Mr Dendy at his shop in Ewell Road.
Dawn Callery regularly takes her autistic son Reuben.
She said: “My son hates having his hair cut, but Chris lets him stand at the sink and play with the water to distract him.
“What was a daunting task has been lessened by a very kind man.”
Debbie Capon, school development and Outreach worker at Dysart, said: “Some of our parents find it difficult to take their children to the barbers.
“Chris takes away these challenges by providing an invaluable service in a familiar and calm environment. “We value the time he gives to us immensely and appreciate the work he does for us.”
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